Rossi, going for pole position after his outstanding championship-winning season, ran off track half way through the session, on the final corner of the track. He almost brought the M1 to a halt unscathed, but toppled over at walking pace and returned to the pit to allow the machine to be checked over. His mishap caused him to drop through the order for a time, but the final exchanges of the lead put him third overall, gaining an all-important front row start and securing himself the award for the fastest qualifier of the year.
Checa, who had rested after his morning session fall, went to 10th place after 20 minutes of the final session had elapsed, and he ultimately earned a ninth place on the grid. His third row start came courtesy of his last lap, 1í33.504s, an improvement on his previous times, despite his slow-speed off.
VALENTINO ROSSI (3rd, 1í32.913s)
ďI hope we are ready for the last race of the season. We had a lot of problems during practice, it was a difficult one. I thought my M1 would be very good straight away on this track, but we have had more problems than we expected. Even with that I am happy because the bike is better, the feeling is not so bad, I am on the front row and we have worked very well. I think we are not at 100% yet but we still have tomorrow morning. I think we will have the same good weather as today so I hope we can make a good race.Ē
CARLOS CHECA (9th, 1í33.504s)
ďIt was a slow crash I had this morning at turn two but I fell quite hard on the asphalt. I didnít lose consciousness or anything, but it was a good idea to take a little bit of a rest before the afternoon. We went a bit better in this session and for tomorrow I suppose I will feel better than today. Iím on the third row and thatís not too bad a position to be in. My pace on race setting is not too bad either but it will be hard tomorrow with 30 laps of this track. You always like to feel well on the eve of the race but right now I have a little bit of a headache. I want to finish well here, itís my home race and my last for Yamaha, and I want to finish with the best possible feeling.Ē
DAVIDE BRIVIO, TEAM DIRECTOR
ďValentino ran on while trying for a good lap time with one particular tyre choice and he went in just a little bit too fast. He fell over but it was not really a crash. We still have some problems with his bike but really it is a case of studying the situation to fix the settings. I think itís a normal situation we have every weekend. Itís a shame that Carlos fell. He seems to be OK but it is not a perfect preparation. He showed determination because he improved his time afterwards anyway. We all wish him well in his last race for us. Another point we must look at this weekend is that Valentino has won another BMW car, thanks to his success in the combined pole position competition. That is significant, I think, so thanks again to everyone in the team, it has been a big effort this season. Our results come from all their jobs