As Spanish showdown beckons in Jerez
Fiat Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi will start the Spanish Grand Prix from fifth position tomorrow, despite being unable to complete his final qualifying lap in Jerez this afternoon.
The Italian's last flying lap was cut short
by an electronic issue but he nevertheless has an excellent race pace and looks on course to be a protagonist in tomorrow's 27-lap race.
Rossi spent the first half of this afternoon's session refining set-up and testing Bridgestone tyres ahead of the race tomorrow, before strong laps with his first two qualifying tyres saw him on the provisional front row. He was confident of dipping under the 1'38 mark with his final try, but the electronic problem saw the end of his challenge and he will start from the middle of the second row. His time of 1'39.064 was dead-on the existing pole record, which was meanwhile bettered by almost a second by his young team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who took pole for the second consecutive race.
“Our target today was the front row and I think we could have done a 1'38 and maybe been second, but unfortunately I had an electronic problem on my last qualifying lap and I had to stop, which was unlucky”, explained Rossi. “This is a pity and of course it would be better to be on the front, but anyway we're not far away, the second row is not so bad and I think we can be competitive tomorrow.
Our race pace is okay, I think with some small adjustments we can improve a bit more but we're close. Congratulations to Lorenzo, I don't know if we can be quite as fast as him on race tyres and he will be hard to beat tomorrow, but let's see! We still haven't decided on our final race tyre, we have to wait and see how the temperature is tomorrow, but it's going to be a very exciting race and we're all looking forward to it!”
Second place was filled by Dani Pedrosa and Tech 3 Yamaha rider Colin Edwards was on the front row once again in third. Tomorrow's 27-lap race will start at 1400 local time.