Rossi and Lorenzo on front row for Qatar season opener
The first MotoGP qualifying session of 2010 saw Fiat Yamaha Team riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo in strong form, taking the second and third spots on the grid behind Casey Stoner to set up an exact rematch of last
year's Qatar race.
World Champion Rossi had struggled a little yesterday but was much happier on his bike today after some set-up changes this morning, finding better rear grip and an improved race pace as a result. Mid-way through the session he moved into the lead for a short while before Stoner bettered his time and edged him back into second. With the hour gone the Italian was up on the clock on his final flying lap but he dropped a few tenths when passing two riders on the fourth sector and had to settle for second, 0.355 off Stoner's time.
After his confidence-inspiring opening day yesterday, Lorenzo took a small step back this evening and found he had less feeling in the rear than previously. He was nonetheless able to put up a spirited fight for grid positions and was happy to qualify third, considering his recently broken hand and lack of testing. The 23-year-old admits that he still has some pain when braking but is more concerned in tweaking his set-up tonight to put him in the best possible shape for tomorrow night's race, which starts at 2300 local time (2200 CET).
Valentino Rossi - Position: 2nd - Time: 1'55.362 - Laps: 25
"I'm really happy about the work we've done today on our set up and now we have a good race pace with the hard Bridgestone tyres. With the soft one the rear is still sliding a little bit too much, but I think for the race we are okay. My final flying lap was very fast but then I had to pass a couple of riders in the final sector and I lost some time, but anyway we have a good grid position so I am happy. A strong start is going to be very important and we will have to push hard on the first lap to try to stay close to Stoner, who is always very strong here. Honestly I think it will be tough to beat him but we will try our best!"
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 3rd - Time: 1'55.520 - Laps: 24
"Considering my situation I am really happy about my grid position and I think we can be proud of our work. Unfortunately today though we have lost some feeling on the rear and it was difficult to go as fast as yesterday. My hand isn't perfect and I still have some pain in braking but I am less worried about that than about the bike. We will use the warm-up to try to make some improvements and then I will just do my best in the race and try for the podium."
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"We've done an okay job in this practice! We made some adjustments to the bike and it's a lot better than yesterday so Valentino's pace is much stronger now. The starting position is good and tomorrow we'll just try from the start to stay with Stoner and see how the race develops. It will be interesting!"
Wilco Zeelenberg - Team Manager
"We're happy to be on the front row after Jorge's injury, it's a great achievement by him to be so close to Rossi and Stoner at this stage. We're not 100% happy with the bike set-up and we can still improve it for the race, even though it's going to be a tough challenge to match the leaders. Anyway we will make the most of the remaining time and try to be there."