Rossi on the gas
Rossi qualifies on pole at Brno MotoGP
Valentino Rossi qualified on pole at Brno despite crashing in the waning moments of the session.
Rossi luckily was unhurt in his qualifying crash, and is confident for tomorrow's race despite Lorenzo's quick pace on race tires.
Fiat Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo qualified second despite having to set his time on race tires due to issues with the soft tires' feedback and feel.
Dani Pedrosa qualified a close third at Brno despite traffic ruining his run on soft tires
Colin Edwards qualified a strong fifth, and hopes to keep the momentum from his second place finish at Donington a few weeks ago.
Ducati Marlboro's Nicky Hayden has some fun during Brno MotoGP qualifying
Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi came out on top of a qualifying duel with his teammate Jorge Lorenzo, even after crashing during the final minutes of the session while trying to improve his lap times even further. Lorenzo seemed to be in control for most of the session however, with lap times on race tires that were easily enough to keep him atop the leaderboard; in fact, his qualifying time was set on the harder-compound race tires because he didn’t like the feedback and feel of the soft tires normally in qualifying. Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa continued his strong form after finally healing up from his early season injuries, and also set his time on race tires, due to traffic quelling any chance of going quicker when he fitted soft tires toward the end of the session. Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards carried the momentum of his second place finish at the last even at Donington with a solid fifth place qualifying result, while Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden finished up in eighth place after getting pushed down from fifth spot in the waning moments of qualifying.
Rossi luckily was mostly unhurt in his lowside crash after losing the front entering a corner. “I have some pain in my right thumb, but for sure for tomorrow, small pain but not big problem. The most important thing for us is that I am fit,” assured The Doctor. The current MotoGP championship leader (by 25 points over his teammate Lorenzo) couldn’t get the soft front tire to work, so with the current tire restrictions, his team had to ration the hard front tires in order to have enough for the race, and that ended up being the cause of his crash. “This weekend just one front tire works, so we have to do the whole weekend on just four front tires. I already had 60 laps on the front after going through three soft tires on the rear. So it was a big stress on the front tire, and I went really deep on the brakes and lost the front.” Rossi nonetheless is confident despite Lorenzo’s impressive race tire times. “We’re on pole position, and I’m feeling much more confident on the bike. We improved a lot after this morning, we modified the setting and I like the bike a lot more, so I’m quite confident. We have to check the small details and see what happens tomorrow.”
Lorenzo was somewhat confused at his inability to get both front and rear soft tires to work for him, so he was forced to use the hard tires that will be used for the race to set his qualifying time. “Well, this morning I tried the soft tire and I didn’t like it, and I tried it again in the afternoon, and I didn’t like it, so we put on the hard tire (at the end of qualifying),” explained Lorenzo. “With the hard tires it was difficult to get pole position, but the important thing is that we have a good pace for the race. It’s strange, because I’ve always been very fast with soft tires, I got a lot of pole positions, but in the last two races, we don’t have enough feeling to be in the pole position, so it’s very strange. But at least we are very fast with the race tire, and I think this is more important than the pole.”
Pedrosa was a little frustrated at running into traffic when he was attempting to set a quicker qualifying time, but he was still happy with his chances in the race. “At the end of the session, I tried to improve my time with soft tires, but in the last few laps I had a lot of traffic because other riders were (slowing down to come into the pits to change tires), and for two laps I was going very slow so the tire temperature went down,” said Pedrosa. “I did a good lap time, but for tomorrow I think we need to improve the setting a little bit, try to be more consistent. Both Yamaha riders in front (Rossi and Lorenzo) are going very fast very consistently, so we are going to try and stay with them from the start. The front row is very important here, so I’m happy.”
Meanwhile, Edwards was relatively happy with his fifth place qualifying performance after battling through aftereffects of a cold medication. “I dunno, I woke up and felt a little sick this morning, took some medicine that the doctor gave me on a half-empty stomach, so I was kind of off all day and just laid on the couch like I usually do and just tried to relax,” revealed the Texas Tornado. “Today we weren’t really worried about the quantity of laps, just the quality, and if I could’ve put a lap together like I wanted then I could’ve done better, but we’re on the second row so I’m happy with it.” He was hoping to be able to hang onto the top three riders at the start and make onto the podium. “It’s going to be a tough race, any time you put together 20-something laps around here, it’s going to be physically demanding, so I dunno, top five for sure, top three, we gotta see…Lorenzo and Valentino are on the gas…maybe we can just throw the tow rope out there and latch onto them from the start.” Regarding his future with the team, Edwards was non-plussed. “I don’t know, this is Yamaha’s decision, I would love to stay where I’m at. If they want me to go over (to the Fiat Yamaha team) if Lorenzo decides to go somewhere else, I’ll do that as well, so no worries.”
Hayden continued to make gradual improvements to machine set-up and posted the eighth fastest time, his second best grid position of the season; but the Kentucky Kid is obviously looking for more. “I was hoping to go faster than that but qualifying has been a weak point for us this year and I always seem to struggle to make a significant improvement when everybody else is pushing for times right at the end,” confessed Hayden. “Considering that I’m pleased that I was able to keep improving right to the end and hang on to what is a decent position for us compared to a lot of our qualifying results so far this season. The team have done a good job here. We’ve made some big changes to the geometry here and we’re improving. It isn’t quite showing in the lap time yet but we keep getting faster and if we can take another step forward tomorrow we can have a good race. The top three are going so quick this weekend it’s unbelievable but nonetheless we’ve done a good job so far and we’re looking to make more improvements in the warm-up and in the race.”