Both riders set a fast and consistent race pace throughout the day but, in the chase for a quick one-off lap time in the intense afternoon sunshine, Rossi lost time trying a tyre that did not work for him whilst Edwards was held up by slower riders on a lap that would have almost certainly put him on the front row of the grid. Despite the minor setbacks the pair have confirmed their progress from a positive opening day yesterday, making key adjustments to the bike settings in order to find improved machine stability in the fast corners of the sweeping Catalunya circuit. Tomorrow they will enjoy the support of a predicted crowd of over 100,000 people, with local favourite Sete Gibernau (Honda) starting from pole after clocking a new outright record time of 1’42.337 this afternoon. Gibernau’s team-mate Marco Melandri was second fastest and will line-up alongside Rossi on the front row of the grid for the 25-lap race.
VALENTINO ROSSI (1’42.723, 26 laps)
“Tomorrow will be tough for the riders in these conditions and for sure 25 laps will make it a long, long race. For the tyres it will be very hard work because this track is so demanding on both the front and the rear, although the conditions were better today than yesterday. We did a lot of work this afternoon to fix all the problems and in the end I am happy because we did a good job. I lost ten minutes in the middle of the session testing a tyre that didn’t work, so we have to work hard with Michelin because the tyres are so important for this race. At end I didn't have time to use my last qualifying tyre and I didn't ride 100% on my fast lap so I'm happy to be on the front row and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. ”
COLIN EDWARDS – (1’43.109, 25 laps)
“I’m not happy with that at all – I know I could have gone much faster. Santa Claus came early for us last night and Michelin brought us a really good front tyre, so my pace on a race setting was pretty good, in the low 1’43s. At the end I put on a qualifying tyre and went out for a warm-up lap, but then when I went for my lap time I ran into three guys in the first corner who were just sat there, looking around and wondering what to do. I tried to take that lap slowly and save some rubber for another try but the front cooled down too much and, even though I pushed as hard as I could, I had no front grip. It’s a shame because I know I could have easily done a 1’42.5, which would have put me on the front row. I guess I’ll just have to ride extra hard for the first few laps in the race… again! ”
DAVIDE BRIVIO – TEAM DIRECTOR
“I think both riders are looking very good to meet their targets in the race. Colin and Vale were both able to make a very good lap time on their race setting so that is very positive. For different reasons both riders were not able to get the best possible result out of the qualifying session. For Valentino it’s not so bad because he stayed on the front row but Colin starts a little bit behind. There are a handful of riders who have got the lap times to be at the front and our guys are amongst them. It is a credit to our team, who have done an excellent job in very hot conditions this weekend. Hopefully it will be an exciting race!”