News 19 Jul 2009

MotoGP: Yamaha's Rossi on pole after first wet qualifier of '09

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A soaking wet Sachsenring held no fears for Fiat Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo today, who took pole and second on the grid amidst heavy rain at the German Grand Prix. It is the sixth time the pair has shared the front row this season and Rossi’s third pole of 2009 is also his first ever in the premier-class at this track. Lorenzo meanwhile continues his impressive statistic of having qualified on the front row at every round so far this year.

This morning was overcast but dry and it was the young Spaniard who ruled the second practice session, with his team-mate half a second off in fifth. It began to rain heavily at lunchtime and did not let up all afternoon, creating treacherous track conditions with standing water in some places. Both Rossi and Lorenzo looked comfortable in the wet and the Italian took an early lead just ten minutes into the session. 22-year-old Lorenzo meanwhile put together a string of good laps, gradually improving his time as he gained confidence on the soaking surface and he duly moved into pole position as the session entered it’s final stages. The team-mates swapped the lead between them twice more before Rossi staked his claim for his 54th career pole with a masterful final lap which saw him better his team-mate’s time by an incredible 0.640 seconds. Casey Stoner joins the pair on the front row once again, a further six tenths off Lorenzo.

Valentino Rossi
Position: 1st Time: 1’32.520 Laps: 30

“I’m really happy for this pole because it means I’ve already got more than in the whole of last year! Getting the pole position here is very important for the race because it’s such a hard place to overtake, so I’m really happy. We’ve done some good work today and my team has done a great job to set-up the bike. We’ve made a few small modifications, which have improved the feeling for me and I felt very confident today despite the bad conditions. At the end it was really very difficult and we were right on the limit because there was so much water on the track, but I knew I could push a bit more and the result was this great lap. I really hope it’s dry tomorrow – for the sake of everybody – but at the moment it’s doubtful so at least we can be confident that we’re well prepared in the wet as well.”

Jorge Lorenzo
Position: 2nd Time: 1’33.160 Laps: 33

“Yesterday I was quite worried about my injuries but I am happy to say that today I feel a lot better and I was able to ride much more strongly and brake much later. I was really fast in the dry this morning and then this afternoon I did a lot of consistent laps, improving all the time, which is very good because often I struggle in the wet. At the end it was very easy to crash so I didn’t want to push too much or take too many chances, it was important to be careful! Second place is very good and I’m happy about the work we’ve done. I hope I feel even better tomorrow for the race and of course that the weather is a bit better too.”

Davide Brivio
Team Manager

“This is a good pole for us, Valentino improved his split times throughout so at the end it was a case of just putting everything together and this lap was the result. It’s difficult in very wet conditions like this and we had a bit of work to do during the session to adjust everything but it all worked well and it seems that we have a good wet set-up; it was a great job from the rider and the team. Pole position is important here because overtaking is hard, so we’re hoping for a dry race so we can take full advantage.”

Daniele Romagnoli
Team Manager

“Today was a great day, both the morning and the afternoon. We started the morning strongly, finding a good setting for the dry that enabled Jorge to keep a very fast pace. This afternoon’s session also went very well, despite the terrible weather, and we’ve been able to attain our goal of starting from the front row. Of course we’d prefer it to be dry tomorrow but I think we’re ready for anything

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 duo Colin Edwards and James Toseland battled atrocious conditions at the Sachsenring today to qualify seventh and fourteenth on the grid respectively for the German MotoGP race.

Torrential rain battered the tight and twisty Sachsenring track for most of the qualifying session, with Edwards clocking a best time of 1.34.607 to finish just 0.3s off a brilliant fourth position.

Edwards battled rear grip issues for the majority of the session, but crucial late changes with his Tech 3 crew boosted the American’s confidence that he can put his YZR-M1 in contention for a top six finish in tomorrow’s 30-lap race.

James Toseland, who had a small crash this morning on the approach to the third corner, was left trailing down in 14th place despite a hugely encouraging session. The British rider produced his best form in wet conditions in 2009, but he got little reward for his hard work with a best time of 1.35.005 just over 0.4s off sixth position and a place on the second row of the grid.

Toseland is still confident he can mount an attack on the top ten tomorrow, the 28-year-old looking for a morale-boosting result ahead of his home race at Donington Park next weekend.

Colin Edwards 7th 1.34.607 – 26 laps
“It was a bit of a struggle to be honest, so to be as high as seventh, I’m not going to complain too much. I thought we’d made a big step with the wet set-up yesterday but the rain was much harder this afternoon and the track temperature was a lot cooler. I knew two laps into it that I’d got no feeling from the rear. We made a couple of changes and the lap times were getting a bit better but each time I wanted to push the rear would just come round on me. The Bridgestone front rain tyre is just awesome and you can do what you want with it. If I could chop the bike in half and just ride the front around here it would be fantastic. But as soon as I load the rear tyre it comes round on me and picks me up. I want to push and go faster, but the faster I go the more load I’m generating and that just pushes the rear out even more. The balance isn’t quite right because I feel like I’m riding well in the rain. Tomorrow is all about getting a good start with it being hard to over take. And the start pretty much determines which group you’re going to be battling in. The new electronics I’ve got though are unbelievable. I don’t want to curse myself but my starts have been phenomenal and I need to thank Yamaha because the new electronics have helped me massively.”

James Toseland 14th 1.35.005 – 28 laps
“I’m gutted. I felt like I was riding really well, so to come in and see myself four-tenths of sixth is hard to swallow. If I wasn’t riding well and not putting in the effort I know I am, I wouldn’t be so frustrated. I had my best feeling in the wet for a long time and I knew I was riding well, but each time I came across the line I was seeing P12 or P13. And then to find out I’m so close to a top six is really frustrating. We kept one set of tyres through the whole session and just as I did my quickest lap time the rain started coming again and there was a little bit more water. I’d used the best grip of my tyre and I couldn’t go any quicker. So instead of sitting here in sixth or seventh with a big smile on my face and feeling confident of a good result, I’m fourteenth and that makes it a tough race with it being so hard to overtake. But my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 have done an amazing job to give me a good bike for the wet and build my confidence. We kept going softer with the set-up because the edge grip on the Bridgestone rain tyre is amazing. It will be a tough race with overtaking so difficult on this track, but as always I’ll be giving it my all.”

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