The Grand Prix of Spain looks as though it could be one of the closest of the season after a host of riders staked their claim for a podium place today.
The MotoGP Qualifying Practice session saw an incredible number of riders taking their turn at the top of the time sheets,
with ten of them inside three tenths of pole at the end. The front row is headed by Dani Pedrosa (Honda), closely followed by Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) and Carlos Checa (Honda).
Toni Elias was just two tenths of a second off pole time, qualifying in eithth place (1'39”660), whilst Marco Melandri was just another tenth behind (1'39”722) and is one position further back on the outside of the third row.
The Team Gresini Honda riders worked hard on their preparations for the race and are satisfied with their pace, their grid positions not really a true reflection of their potential. Tomorrow both Melandri and Elias are confident of making up positions early in the race with a good start.
TONI ELIAS (8th ,1'39”660):
“I'm happy because we are continuing to improve. We are only two tenths off pole but I can't say I'm satisfied with eighth position. Today we worked well and my race pace is quite good. Tomorrow I just hope to get a good start and recover some important positions. The fans at Jerez are amazing and I'm sure they'll give me plenty of support.”
MARCO MELANDRI (9th, 1'39”722):
“I'm happy with the bike.
This morning we had a good endurance test with the bike in race setting and I'm confident. We're getting much better with a qualifying tyre and I was able to get a good lap in with the first one. I was confident because there was still room for improvement. With the second tyre I pushed a bit too hard and the tyre went off. I made a mistake in the final corner which cost me the few tenths of a second that mean I'm now on the outside of the third row. Physically I feel better – the fever has passed although I am still a little blocked up and it's hard to breathe.”