Melandri on the fifth row
Casey Stoner starts his defence of the MotoGP World Championship from fourth on the grid in the Grand Prix of Qatar following today's qualifying session, having been quickest in each of the three free practices.
The third of those was when
the Australian did his best work, the adjustments made since yesterday with the race setting on the GP8 having the desired effect and giving him confidence for tomorrow's race.
His team-mate Marco Melandri was nowhere near as satisfied after only managing the 16th fastest time on qualifying tyres. The Italian is hoping for a much better showing in the race.
CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 4th; 1'54.733
"To be honest I expected to be on the second row so I'm not too disappointed with the result, although I reckon that if I had another qualifying tyre like the one I set my fast lap on I could have comfortably been on the front. Anyway, sometimes there are certain things you can't plan for and the important thing is that we're in a good position for the race. We made one big change to the bike for third free practice and it was really positive but in tonight's qualifying session we tried a few things that didn't have the effect we'd hoped for, so we'll go back to what we know works and I think that with a few more small changes we can be really competitive. There a lot of people with good race times, especially Lorenzo, so it will be interesting to see where everybody is in the warm-up.
I know Jorge well from my 125 and 250 days so I'm not surprised that he and Andrea (Dovizioso) are fast but I must admit I didn't expect James Toseland to be so strong and I take my hat off to him. If it comes down to a battle between us it won't be anything different to any other race - everybody on the grid is a strong rival and they all have to be beaten."
MARCO MELANDRI - (Ducati Marlboro Team) 16th; 1'56.730
"Unfortunately there's not much to say about today because things haven't gone well. We've tried a lot of things but nothing has had the result we hoped for. I'm not able to ride well and we just can't seem to find the grip on the front or the rear so I'm just too slow. We want to try out so many things but there's no more time so we'll just have to see how we go in the race"