Whilst both riders again demonstrated encouraging pace on race rubber, the improved rear grip offered by the qualifying tyre at the end of the session exaggerated the remaining traces of vibration problems and prevented them from mounting a serious challenge for a front row start.
Rossi was the quickest of the pair, clocking the sixth fastest time to seal a slot on the second row of the grid. Edwards, meanwhile, was just over a tenth of a second outside the time set by his team-mate and will start from just two places behind him in tomorrow’s 22-lap race, which starts at 15h local time (14h CET). Leading the way from pole position will be Australian youngster Casey Stoner (Honda), who produced a record lap of 1’55.683 to surprise the rest of the field in only his second MotoGP appearance. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) and Toni Elias (Honda) complete the front row.
VALENTINO ROSSI (1’56.076, 25 laps)
"The problem is that when the grip comes up we push more and the bike vibration comes back, so we couldn’t use the full potential of the qualifying tyre today and I am only sixth. Anyway my rhythm is not so bad and there are many riders close together so I think it will be a good battle tomorrow. I am very surprised by Stoner and I would like to give him my sincere congratulations. He has been very fast all weekend and he used the qualifying tyre to 100%, even better than Loris, who has a lot of experience. Loris is in good shape again but I think the guys to beat are the young Honda riders – Stoner, Elias and Pedrosa. Tomorrow we will see but it should be interesting”.
COLIN EDWARDS (1’56.230, 22 laps)
"We definitely made the bike better from yesterday and even this morning. We’re still struggling with a little bit of vibration but the problem is continually reducing and I think we’re on to something with the setting. We’ll make a few small changes in the morning but it’s a fine line between what could work and what definitely doesn’t work so we have to be careful not to go backwards. My race pace is okay but I’m not going to lie – it was hard work. If the other guys were doing 1’57s I’d be delighted but I think we’ll have hold it in the 1’56 mark during the race to come out with a top result. It’s going to be tough but if we can make a small step in the morning we’ll be ready”.
DAVIDE BRIVIO – CAMEL YAMAHA TEAM DIRECTOR
“We have had less problems here than we had in Jerez but the situation is still not perfect. The qualifying session did not go very well for us but both riders have a decent race pace and I think they are in good shape for tomorrow. It will be hard because no doubt the young riders will push hard from the start. It will be a close battle at the front but I think we can be a part of it“.