Yamaha Day 2 Report
|Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino
Rossi will launch his bid for the MotoGP World Championship title in
the best possible circumstances tomorrow after sealing pole position
for the final race of the season in today's qualifying session at
Valencia. The Italian repeatedly smashed the pole record here to
make sure of the top spot, eventually clocking a best lap of
1'31.002 to hold off the twin challenge of Troy Bayliss and Loris
Capirossi (Ducati), who join him on the front row. Tomorrow, in
front of an expected crowd of over 120,000 fans, the five-time
MotoGP World Champion will defend an eight-point advantage over
Nicky Hayden (Honda) as he aims to secure his sixth consecutive
Hayden, the only man with a mathematical chance of denying Rossi, starts from the second row after qualifying fifth fastest, meaning there are three riders between the championship contenders on the grid. Unfortunately Rossi's Camel Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards is not one of those, having struggled to significantly improve his lap times on a qualifying tyre this afternoon. Nevertheless, the in-form Texan has set an impressive pace throughout the day on race rubber. In the morning free practice, when Rossi also topped the time sheets, Edwards was fourth fastest and in the afternoon he lapped consistently inside the circuit record before being forced to settle for tenth place on the grid.
Valentino Rossi (1st - 1'31.002; 30 laps) "We knew we had great
potential with the qualifying tyre because we tried it this morning
in the free practice and then this afternoon I did three very good
laps, each one better and better and then the final lap was very
fast. To do a 1'31.0 was really incredible. This pole position is
crucial for me because it is an important part of my race tactics to
start from the front. The session couldn't have gone much better for
us because we have a couple of other riders between myself and
Nicky. It is a shame Colin is not one of them but he has a good race
pace so hopefully he can help me out like he did at Estoril. The
team has done a great job this weekend, especially with the balance
of the bike. Now we need to make one or two small changes for
tomorrow and then we'll just wait and see. I hope the weather will
be like this - for the riders and for the fans because it looks like
there will be a great crowd! Now we have the most important thirty
laps of the season left to complete our target."
Davide Brivio - Camel Yamaha Team Director "We couldn't have asked for a better starting position for the most important race of the season but the main thing is that Valentino's general feeling with the bike is good and he is comfortable going into such a big day tomorrow. Of course, anything can still happen but we feel ready for this last battle and happy in the knowledge that our bike will be competitive enough to go out and race. Unfortunately Colin wasn't able to take advantage of the qualifying tyre today but we're pleased with his pace on race rubber and we expect a big effort from him tomorrow. If he can get a good start then I'm sure he can stay with the lead group and help out Valentino, just like he did at Estoril. We are ready for D-Day!"
Tech3 Yamaha confident of strong
race at Valencia Two hours of practice and qualifying for tomorrow's
final MotoGP of the year at the Grand Prix of Valencia have placed
the Tech 3 Yamaha Team in an encouraging frame of mind for a good
performance in what is the final race with the team for both Carlos
Checa and James Ellison.
Herve Poncharal - Tech 3 Yamaha Team Director "First up congratulations to Valentino as this could be the most important pole position of his career. Saying that, it was a not so bad day for us today although the time sheets may show different. We look quite good on race tyres as we did 20 laps with Carlos earlier in the session and the lap times was very consistent with the entire block in the 1 minute 33 second bracket which after two days appears to be what the race pace will be and this is quite promising. Unfortunately we didn't qualify as well as we could've done and the starting position is not what we would've have liked but we saw Carlos at Estoril start from quite far behind after an incident at the first corner and he came back to a very decent position after the first few laps. We hope tomorrow that he will be able to make his way through the field for a similar result. As it is Carlos' last race for the team in Spain front of his home crowd we would like him to do well so we will all be trying our best. James was riding quite well also until he fell when pushing. We are happy to see him pushing hard and although he didn't improve after he crashed, he was very aggressive and this is what we like him to do and tomorrow we hope that he can do the same thing and finish his time with the team with a satisfactory result."