In scorching Germany
The sun finally shone over a MotoGP qualifying session at the Sachsenring today but the weather failed to benefit the Fiat Yamaha Team in the way they had hoped, as Rossi and Edwards both ran into some unexpected problems during this afternoon's qualifying
Rossi's best effort was only 0.221 off pole but with the top seven riders covered by less than three tenths his time will see him start from sixth for tomorrow's German Grand Prix, whilst Edwards faces an uphill struggle to make it back to the front from the head of the fifth row.
With temperatures making a jump up into the high twenties, the conditions were very different this afternoon to those seen yesterday and the riders spent the first part of the session tweaking their settings accordingly. Towards the end of the session Rossi's second qualifying lap looked on course for the front row until he suffered from a slight tyre issue in the last section and dropped a few tenths. On race tyres however the Italian showed a strong pace throughout and he is confident that a good start will see him in position to fight with the leaders as he chases a third consecutive Sachsenring victory.
Edwards meanwhile struggled throughout the session, especially in the second half of the circuit, and will be looking to use tomorrow's warm-up session to make some last minute changes to his race package to put himself in a position to improve on his grid slot.
"I was quite confident of a better qualification today but unfortunately we had a problem with our qualifying tyre and I lost some time at the end. It's a difficult weekend because everyone is very close and the level is very high! I think we can expect another great battle tomorrow.
My pace and rhythm is quite good, not the best but still not so bad, so I think that if I can make a good start then I will be able to fight at the front. The problem here is that it's a hard track to overtake on and now the fast right, which was a good place for passing before, isn't so good with the new 800s. Anyway, we have some modifications still to make and we have to decide on the right tyre, so hopefully we can still improve more. Looking at the times it seems that Pedrosa is very strong here, with the best pace, and actually this is encouraging because he's on Michelin's too. Of course with Stoner on pole we know that he too will be a hard rival. Anyway, sixth is not so bad - last year here we started tenth and in Assen eleventh and we won both times so we're definitely not too worried! It's going to be hard, especially if it's hot like this, but we will do our best as always."
"We're struggling here, there's no other way to put it. Yesterday I thought we were okay and would be even better today but, despite improving our times, we've moved progressively further down the time sheets. It's not an easy track and unfortunately we can't seem to find the key. It wasn't terrible with the qualifying tyre and the first half of the lap, which is slower and tighter, was great but then I was dropping seven tenths in the last half without knowing why - I was riding pretty hard out there! The bike feels a little bit unsettled and we can't quite put our fingers on why so we'll be studying the data tonight, seeing what we can come up with in practice and then I'll just have to get my head down from the start and push as hard as I can."
"It didn't quite work out how we hoped today but anyway with Valentino it's not so bad; he's on the second row and has a good rhythm. There are definitely some areas where we can still improve and we had a few unexpected problems today. With Colin we need to study the data and try to understand where we can improve his package. Tomorrow looks like being a hard race but with a good start we can be in the fight; let's just hope we can stay there right to the end!"