Front row puts Rossi in place for Laguna challenge This afternoon's qualifying session at Laguna Seca saw Valentino Rossi put his Fiat Yamaha M1 on the front row of the grid for the sixth time this season, qualifying second for tomorrow's US...
Front row puts Rossi in place for Laguna challenge
This afternoon's qualifying session at Laguna Seca saw Valentino Rossi put his Fiat Yamaha M1 on the front row of the grid for the sixth time this season, qualifying second for tomorrow's US Grand Prix. Yamaha and Rossi announced last night that he has signed a new deal to continue racing with the factory in MotoGP for two more years, and the Italian is keen to celebrate by taking his first win at this track tomorrow.
Heavy fog this morning cast doubt over whether the day's proceedings would begin on time and this morning's practice session was run in very low temperatures, with Rossi finishing second. Luckily however the Californian sun showed its face this afternoon and the qualifying session was a much warmer affair, with Rossi consistently fast throughout, having found an improved suspension set-up this morning. With six minutes remaining a fast lap with a Bridgestone qualifying tyre put him second, although he temporarily surrendered the spot a few minutes later. Rossi's final flying lap was even faster however and, although he was unable to catch Stoner, it was good enough for second on the grid.
It was a successful day all round for the Fiat Yamaha Team as Jorge Lorenzo was able to qualify fourth on what is his first ride at the track, whilst Tech 3 riders James Toseland and Colin Edwards were 5th and 7th respectively. Rossi will start in between Stoner and Hayden, two former winners here, when the lights go out at 1400 West Coast time for tomorrow's 32-lap race.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 2nd Time: 1'21.147 Laps: 38
"I'm pleased with this result and I think we've done a good job today. This morning, even though it was very cold, we were able to make some good steps forward, especially with the suspension setting, and I was able to be quite fast. This afternoon we were able to do a long simulation and this was very important to help us understand how the tyres will be tomorrow. It seems they are quite good, but this is a very hard race for tyres! It's also a hard race physically and so I know that tomorrow will be a big challenge. Second place is good for us and I think we've done a lot better in the practice this weekend than we have in the last couple of races, so I'm happy about this. Casey is very fast and I don't know exactly how to beat him - maybe I need to start 30 seconds earlier! Whatever happens a good start is going to be very important and then I will just try to stay with him and keep pushing."
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"It's good to be starting from the first row and we're happy because this is our first target for the weekend. Our pace is very good, but of course we will be looking for ways to improve this even further for tomorrow. Unfortunately there is someone who is faster than us, but you never know in racing and we will just try to stay with him and have a race."
Lorenzo to launch Laguna bid from second row
Jorge Lorenzo will start his debut US Grand Prix from the second row of the grid, having qualified fourth at Laguna Seca today. The Fiat Yamaha Team rookie was able to make significant strides with his set-up today and is now looking forward to his first American challenge tomorrow.
The track was shrouded in heavy fog this morning, which only just cleared in time for the first practice to go ahead. Despite the cool temperatures Lorenzo and his crew improved on his time from yesterday by half a second and the Spaniard went into this afternoon's qualifying with much more confidence. Bright sunshine made it a cheerier affair and Lorenzo was able to put in some fast laps with his Michelin qualifying tyres, his best and final effort putting him fourth, well inside the pole position record of last year.
Jorge Lorenzo -Position: 4th Time: 1'21.636 Laps: 27
"We had a good qualifying tyre from Michelin and I was very happy with my performance this afternoon. The second row is very good, especially since this is my first time here. We know we have a race tyre that is okay for tomorrow, but it is quite hard and therefore it is quite difficult to get temperature into it; this is the problem for our pace. In fact today we improved a lot but we are still a long way off the best time and therefore I think it's going to be a very hard race and we will struggle to go fast in the early stages, until we can get enough temperature into the tyre. For me the most difficult part of the track is still the first corner, this is where I lack some feeling, so we will try to improve things a bit more in the warm-up. Besides all this I am still having fun riding here, even though it is clear that this is not the best race for our package! I will do my best tomorrow and hopefully I will be able to enjoy myself again."
Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager
"This has been quite a good day for us; in the morning session we improved our issues with the rear grip and this afternoon we've made another step forward again. The team did a great job to change our base set-up from the previous races and now Jorge is getting back some of his confidence with the bike. Of course we still need to improve and refine our setting because on the entry to the corner we still have a few issues, so we are planning some things for the warm-up. The team and Jorge enjoyed themselves a lot today with the Michelin qualifying tyres and Jorge was able to take a good fourth place. For his first time on this track this is already a good result, so now we hope for a good race tomorrow."