“Tomorrow will be a very hard race for us”
Valentino Rossi is faced with an uphill task in tomorrow's Catalan Grand Prix, after struggling with set-up issues throughout today's practices and qualifying in ninth position.
Today's session was in stark contrast to this
time last year, when the Fiat Yamaha Team rider put his M1 on pole position for this same race.
The Italian and his crew have been working at the maximum throughout all four sessions so far in order to find the right set-up for their Bridgestone-Yamaha package, but Rossi is still lacking speed on the entrance to the corners. He was unable to improve much this afternoon even when using a qualifying tyre and will have to launch his attack tomorrow from the outside of the third row, whilst his championship rivals Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa fill the front two spots.
The team will now look to make further changes overnight and then use tomorrow's warm-up session to maximum effect in order to try to find a setting which can enable Rossi to fight his way through the pack and play a part in tomorrow's 25-lap race.
In contrast to the busy scenes on the number 46 side of the garage, the opposite side of the box was completely quiet today following Jorge Lorenzo's accident yesterday, which has forced the 21-year-old to spend the remainder of his home Grand Prix weekend resting in hospital. It was a more positive day in the Tech 3 Yamaha box however, as Colin Edwards and James Toseland qualified fifth and sixth respectively.
“This was quite a bad qualifying session for us! We had a lot of problems and now, unfortunately, we will have to start from the third row, our worst qualifying result so far this season. Tomorrow for sure will be a very hard race for us. We've tried to improve the setting but we haven't been able to fix our problems, the main one of which is that we are not fast enough on the entry to the corners. Now we need to work all afternoon to try to find a solution and then see what we can do tomorrow. 25 laps is going to be quite difficult but we will try to come up with a plan and then I will try to recover as many positions as possible at the start and through the first few corners. If we can make a few small improvements and improve the feeling then we can try to do something tomorrow, we'll just have to wait and see.”
“We will have a difficult start tomorrow; 9th on the grid is not what we hoped for but we have been in worse positions so now our task is to analyse the data we have from today's practice and learn what we can from this information. We've tried many different things over these two days and unfortunately, so far, we haven't been able to find the right set-up for our package at this track. So now we need to study everything carefully, come up with some good ideas and then put everything together in a different way. If we can improve the bike then we know that Valentino will be able to try and fight, so this is our task!”