Qualifying for the Misano round of the MotoGP World Championship turned into the usual fierce and frenzied battle in the final minutes, with Fiat Yamaha teammates Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa swapping the top spot amongst themselves as time wound down. In the final seconds, Pedrosa looked to have the top spot locked up with a 1:34.560 lap, but both Rossi and Lorenzo were on their final laps with no time remaining. Rossi once again added to his legendary status with 1:34.338 lap to take the top spot, and then all eyes were on Lorenzo. Unfortunately, he couldn’t put it all together, and a frustrated Lorenzo ended up third.
"We expected it to be a bit cooler today but in the end it wasn't so different from yesterday and it's still very hard work for all the riders,” said a relieved Rossi. “This afternoon the grip wasn't great and we found it a bit harder with the race pace, but then we made a second round of modifications and everything felt very good. I am very happy to get the pole position here in Misano. I was able to do a great first lap on my final tire and that was enough for pole, and the team changed the tire in the time of an F1 pit stop so thanks to them! We know that it's going to be a very tough race tomorrow, but we are in good shape.” Rossi then revealed the reason behind his new helmet motif. “If anyone is wondering about my helmet...I have the donkey on it because in Italy, if you make a stupid mistake we say that you are a donkey. I made a mistake in Indy so this is why! I think it's very funny!"
Even though he was bumped off pole, Pedrosa was glad to be on the front row for the race tomorrow. “It’s great to get a front row start here and we weren’t far away from pole position which is a good result from this afternoon because our rivals are very strong again here,” said Pedrosa. “During the session we were working on race set-up and we still have a little way to go to improve my race pace and consistency compared to the others. In qualifying I was able to up my speed towards the end and I was pushing really hard because it’s very important to get on the front row here and give yourself the best chance of a clean getaway. It’s sure to be an exciting race tomorrow and I hope we can find that little bit extra so we can challenge for the win again. It’s likely to be a tough race because it was hot and windy today, but I’m looking forward to it – the atmosphere is sure to be special.”
Lorenzo was philosophical about his final qualifying result. "I think the race tomorrow is going to be quite painful in this heat and the physical condition is going to be very important,” said the 22-year-old Spaniard. “It will be a long race but we are in good shape and I am looking forward to the challenge. Unfortunately I wasn't fast enough with the soft tire right at the end, but we are still on the front row once again and this is the most important thing. My race pace is very good and I did some consistent runs, even though we still have some areas that we need to improve a bit because our setting isn't perfect yet. But I know that I can push tomorrow, even if it will be very hard."
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin...
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin Edwards qualfied a strong fifth at Misano, just ahead of Hayden. He'll be hoping for a good start tomorrow.
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards is looking to improve on his “disappointing” fifth place finish last weekend at Indy. The Texas Tornado posted his fastest time—1.35.184—on his penultimate lap with 18 minutes remaining, launching him from tenth to fourth, before ending up fifth, just 0.3 seconds off the front row in advance of his 115th MotoGP start. Despite a cooling sea breeze, track temperatures still hit 104 degrees F. "I would like to say I could win the race but it's going be tough,” admitted Edwards. “Anything in the mid-35s pace in this heat will be very good and I'll need a good start and push it early with guys up front. It's been a little bit tough this weekend to get right on the pace, everything feels like it is happening faster than normal which takes a little getting used to. This morning we tried a different weight balance but that didn't work, I couldn't get enough weight on the front. We have played around with the front geometry and now I have headed towards the set-up used by Jorge Lorenzo and I think it's better. I've been fighting with running wide and not having enough turning. At the end of the session I put in the soft tires and I thought, 'I either crash it or put in a fast lap' and I'm not sure I even shut off the throttle for the corner onto the back straight. The weather is hot but it's OK, when the adrenaline is pumping you don't know if it's the ice age or heat wave."
After his podium finish at...
After his podium finish at Indy last weekend, Hayden continued his momentum with a sixth place qualifying result.
Hayden was the second fastest rider on track in the first and final sections of the Misano circuit but, like yesterday, he struggled with the fast right-hander in T3. However, on his penultimate lap the American shaved two tenths off his previous best through that sector alone to improve his overall best time by three tenths and move up to the second row for the second successive race. “This morning I had a really good feeling with the bike and put together a good rhythm,” said Hayden. “I was fastest in T4 and that’s the first time this year I’ve been fastest at anything in the dry! I’d hoped to improve and do my best dry qualifying of the year this afternoon but to begin with the track was a little warmer and I didn’t get that same level of feeling, so we had to make some tweaks to the set-up. Like I say, I’d hoped to do better than what I did but we got on the second row and our focus turns to tomorrow. I need to get a great start because those first two or three turns are going to be harsh—everybody will be fighting for positions and there’s a good chance of some drama there. We want to get through that cleanly and as high up the order as possible in the early stages. From there it’s a case of giving my maximum for all the Italian fans and trying to put their bike up front. It is great to have their support here and all the staff from Bologna—Claudio (Domenicali), Filippo (Preziosi), Vitto (Guareschi), Alan (Jenkins)… It’s fun and I’m enjoying having them around so hopefully we can celebrate a result together tomorrow.”
FINAL QUALIFYING RESULTS:
- 1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha 1:34.338
- 2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Honda 1:34.560
- 3. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha 1:34.808
- 4. Toni Elias (SPA) Honda 1:34.907
- 5. Colin Edwards (USA) Yamaha 1:35.184
- 6. Nicky Hayden (USA Ducati 1:35.223
- 7. Alex De Angelis (ITA) Honda 1:35.343
- 8. Andrea Dovisioso (ITA) Honda 1:35.492
- 9. Randy De Puniet (FRA) Honda 1:35.554
- 10. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Suzuki 1:35.561