For French GP
A very hard fought qualifying session for Sunday's French Grand Prix at Le Mans saw the first twelve riders covered by one second today, with Repsol Honda's Nicky Hayden narrowly missing out on the front two rows.
The World Champion had finished the
ultra-close morning session just 0.263s from the front and again showed promising pace on race tyres in the afternoon, before completing his two flying laps on Michelin qualifying rubber. On his second hot lap Hayden looked in with a good chance of making the front row before finally losing out in the last sector of the lap to record the seventh fastest time.
Having been second quickest on Friday, Dani Pedrosa could only record the tenth best time in the one-hour qualifying session as traffic affected the 21-year-old Spaniard's rhythm. Pedrosa is set to start his 100th Grand Prix tomorrow and will be determined to make a flying start from the fourth row of the grid at the 4.180km (2.597 miles) Le Mans circuit.
Colin Edwards on a Yamaha took pole position today, with Casey Stoner (Ducati) in second place and Carlos Checa in third on the LCR Honda.
“That's the best my bike has felt on qualifiers for a while, with the least amount of chatter, and it all felt pretty good today. I didn't get the final section of my best lap perfectly right and I wish I could have got through there a little bit quicker. So it wasn't a stellar day finishing back in seventh in both sessions but overall I've felt better than I have in the last few races and the Michelin tyres seem to be working well too. Also there aren't any long straights around this circuit so I'm not losing out a whole lot top speed wise. My team came up with a few ideas which we tried today and they helped me get a better feeling – so the key thing will be selecting the right race tyre. I'll try to get an awesome start and fight like a dog tomorrow – it's pretty simple really.
Back there on the third row it could get ugly in Turn One because it's really tight here. And the weather tomorrow could go either way so we'll see what we get. I'm definitely looking forward to this race.”
“Yesterday went pretty well here but today we couldn't make as much progress in the practice and qualifying sessions. Obviously starting from tenth isn't really where I want to be and will make a good start especially important tomorrow. There were a couple of issues with the machine today which cost us some time and then in qualifying I had some traffic in the second section of the lap which meant my time wasn't as quick as it should have been. It's a little frustrating, especially as I was on pole position last year, however we have some more options to try in the warm-up tomorrow morning. We'll look at the information from today and work with Michelin tonight to make the decision on the race tyre. I certainly need to get off the line quickly tomorrow and hopefully make up some places quickly.”
“Nicky's pace on race tyres looks quite good and he recovered very well from yesterday's fall to set some consistent laps. His final qualifying lap was going well but he lost a little time in the last sector which put him seventh, so he'll be aiming for a quick start tomorrow. Dani was very near the top yesterday but things weren't so smooth today and we've still got some work to do to get a set-up and tyre selection that will allow him race at the front. The team will be concentrating tonight and aim to make full use of the warm-up tomorrow.”