Valentino Rossi: “We have to start from the third row and the start of the race will be very important because I have to try to improve my position and stay with the leaders.”
Valentino Rossi reckons he faces a tough Motorland Aragon MotoGP race tomorrow after he could only qualify in a disappointing seventh-place on the grid. The Italian made a vital mistake on his final flying lap and a best time of 1.50.017 left him down on the third row of the grid for the second time in the last three races. He was over a second off the pace of Casey Stoner and was beaten by non-factory duo Ben Spies and Randy de Puniet. Rossi, who has yet to qualify higher than fourth since returning from the broken right leg he suffered in Mugello earlier this season, said: “It was a very difficult day. This morning was very bad and this afternoon was better, but unfortunately I made a mistake with the soft tire on a good lap and without this I’d be a lot closer to the top guys and starting on the second row. I ran wide at Turn 10 and I lost half-a-second because I ran off the track. I have to start from the third row and it will be more difficult because we are not very strong and not very fast. We suffer a lot in the top speed compared to all the other bikes and at the same time we are not strong enough in the corners to recover some time. It will be a hard race.”
Elaborating further on his set-up issues this morning, he said: “We tried to modify the setting but I lost a lot of corner speed and the bike doesn’t turn enough. For this afternoon we made another setting and in general it was not so bad. I need some more tenths to improve my position, but starting from the third row makes it very hard. But we have still the warm-up to try and improve our pace.”
Ducati’s Casey Stoner looks to be in strong form for Sunday’s race after recent bike modifications paid off in qualifying.
Aussie Casey Stoner thanked a radical new set-up for helping him storm to his first pole position since the opening race of the season at the Motorland Aragon track today. A best lap of 1.48.942 was comfortably faster than Jorge Lorenzo by 0.309s as Stoner topped qualifying for the first time since the Qatar round in April. Stoner credited much of his fast pace to a new set-up he’s using on his factory Ducati GP10 machine this weekend.
“The reason we’re changing the set-up this week is because the last couple of races I’ve been looking at my riding position and the fact that I can’t put as much weight over the front of the bike anymore,” said Stoner. “It is because I have not had so much movement in my wrist since the operation (in 2008). We’ve basically moved my body position further forward but without sacrificing rear grip. We’ve moved the steering position and shortened the swingarm to get more grip, but at the same time putting me over the front of the bike more without me having to physically do it. We’ve tried that this weekend and it seems to work so we’ll see how it goes in the race and whether it works at other tracks.”
The 24-year-old said today’s performance was the result of recent hard work by Ducati and he said he hoped it would boost his chances of ending his long victory drought before he leaves for Honda at the end of the season.
The 2007 world champion said: “We’ve been working hard all year. This isn’t all of a sudden we decided to get ourselves in gear and do some extra. We’ve been doing everything we can all season. We don’t want to be away from the top step of any session and the whole team’s been doing a fantastic job. We’ve been missing something so it’s nice this weekend. For me it’s always a nice new challenge on a new circuit and it’s better than doing a million laps
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was close to securing pole, but he made a mistake on his last fast lap and will start Sunday’s race from third on the grid.
around other tracks that we already know and it’s really nice when we get to visit new places. And today we’ve been trying something a little bit different. We’ve been taking some risks the last few races trying a lot of different set-ups and today we tried something different again and it seemed to have paid off. We definitely gained a few tenths and hopefully it’s the difference we’ve been missing. I can’t really talk about Misano because we were missing way too much, but in past races before that we’ve not been missing a lot and it would be nice to think we’ve come up with something to maybe challenge a little bit more.”
Dani Pedrosa was left to rue a last lap error that denied him the opportunity to claim a fifth pole position of the season at the new Motorland Aragon track this afternoon. The Repsol Honda rider looked certain to climb from third to first as he embarked on an impressive final lap assault. The Spaniard, who won back-to-back races in Indianapolis and Misano for the first time in his career recently, was over 0.2s faster than Casey Stoner’s best lap in the first two timed sectors. But just as he started the third sector he ran off track and had to settle for third-place with a best time of 1.49.343. That left him 0.401s behind Stoner’s factory Ducati.
“On the last lap I was off the track going into the third section so I lost the lap and probably pole position,” Pedrosa said. “But still I was able to keep third-place and be on the front row and it’s so very important to be on the front row. It is even more important here with the first corner so close to the start line, so I think it is great to be on front row.”
Yamaha’s top speed deficit left Jorge Lorenzo hoping that the Japanese factory will roll out a more powerful YZR-M1 motor at its forthcoming home race at the Twin Ring Motegi. Lorenzo maintained his stunning record of qualifying on the
Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo experienced power issues with his M1 and is expecting a difficult race on Sunday.
front row of the grid in every race so far in 2010 with a lap of 1.49.251, securing him second-place ahead of tomorrow’s 23-lap Motorland Aragon clash. But Lorenzo’s factory Yamaha YZR-M1 was close to six mph slower than Dani Pedrosa’s blistering fast Repsol Honda RC212V machine today. The Spaniard was only 15th-fastest through the speed traps with no Yamaha able to get into the top-10 of speed charts.
The 23-year-old, who holds a commanding 63-point lead over Spanish rival Pedrosa, said he hoped a new, more powerful engine would be available for the Japanese Grand Prix early next month.
“It is not a problem on the main straight but in each acceleration you lose a lot of meters and it is difficult to stay with these guys. Maybe in Japan we’ll have a new engine. It is not sure but maybe we will gain some horsepower. I hope so. We lose in, more or less, all the races a little bit of top speed, but especially here on this track. And it’s not only the acceleration – it’s every little straight that we lose out on. But hopefully we can gain a little of this gap in the braking and in the corner speed. This is what we have to do tomorrow to try and not lose so much on the straight.”
Lorenzo said Aussie Casey Stoner could pose a serious threat to his hopes of winning for a third time on home soil in 2010. Having won in Jerez and Catalunya, Lorenzo is seeking an eighth win to stop Pedrosa’s excellent recent run of form. Stoner has looked in the most menacing form since the early part of the season, and he claimed pole position by 0.309s over Lorenzo.
“I see that Casey is very, very fast and faster than any other race this season. For sure he will fight for a win tomorrow and for the moment, in theory, he and Dani are the two riders who have more pace for the race.”