Istanbul : Fiat Yamaha – Day Two
Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards put themselves in the best possible starting positions for tomorrow's Grand Prix of Turkey with a one-two in today's Official Qualifying.
Shaking off the mild set-up problems they had encountered
on yesterday's dirty track, the pair worked steadily on fine-tuning their 800cc YZR-M1s throughout the majority of the hour-long session before posting the best flying laps on qualifying tyres to take the top two spots on the grid for tomorrow's 22-lap race.
With the weather staying dry once again the grip on track was considerably better than yesterday and Rossi's eventual pole time of 1'52.795 was just inside the existing lap record, although still slightly slower than last year's pole time. The Italian moved into pole with eight minutes remaining after his first flying lap before consolidating his position with another even faster lap on his second qualifying tyre soon after.
Rossi's second pole of the season and ninth consecutive front row start puts him in a strong position to challenge for a win at one of only three circuits on this year's calendar where he has yet to stand on top of the podium.
Edwards' second qualifying lap of 1'52.944 was good enough for second position behind his team-mate and the American will start ahead of Dani Pedrosa, who mounted a strong challenge in the closing stages but finished 0.027 adrift of the American.
Valentino Rossi :
"I'm very happy to have a pole position at this track, which has never been one of my favourites! I've had some bad moments here in the past but this year it feels like a different track for me and I'm having great fun! My M1 is very competitive, a lot more fun to ride here than in the past and the new modifications we have for our engine have made an important difference to our overall performance. The team has done a great job because we had some problems yesterday but they've found some good solutions and now Colin and I are first and second. My tyres are working well and we've found the right front for tomorrow. We need to make a final decision about the rear in the morning. With the qualifying tyre my bike really flew and I was able to do a very good lap; I started my first lap a few minutes earlier than the others and then I knew that I could improve a little bit more with the second qualifying tyre. Anyway all three of us are very close on the front row so I think it's going to be a tight battle tomorrow. Let's hope for good weather and see what happens."
Colin Edwards :
"Well after the problems we had yesterday I've got to say a massive thanks to my team. They looked at the issues, got out their protractors, did their maths and worked their magic like always! The Michelin qualifier really sticks like glue for us this year and I was able to really push it. I thought I was going to run into traffic at one point on my last lap but I just kept my head down and somehow came out the other side in front. It was definitely a mistake-free lap. As for tomorrow, we need to work a little bit on our race pace - two tenths would be good but three would be even better! I think we're losing it in T3 so we need to concentrate on that part of the track. We've moved onto a different front from the ‘old faithful' we've been using so far this year because that one was a little bit too close to the limit here, but it's working really well so we just need to make a final decision on the rear. It's a great result for the team to have us both on the front row again so let's hope to make the most of it with a similar result tomorrow!"
Davide Brivio :
"Of course this is a great qualifying result for us and it's really good to be starting tomorrow's race like this. This year our bike is working very well and both Valentino and Colin are able to enjoy the qualifying in a way that they weren't always able to last year. Our bike seems to be in great shape for qualifying this season as is shown by the results - Valentino has been on the front row in all three races and Colin twice. The team have done a great job as usual as they had a few problems to fix after yesterday, so well done to them. Our situation for tomorrow's race isn't so bad either but it's very important to be starting in front as it's going to be a hard battle. We have a few things to check with both riders in the warm-up tomorrow and some fine-tuning to do, but we can definitely be competitive and fight until the end."