Neither rider was able to find an adequate setting for the YZR-M1 in Fridays opening sessions and despite making progress yeterday they did not take the necessary steps forward required to make a challenge for the front row of the grid, which is headed by Dani Pedrosa (Honda) for the second successive race.
As the action got underway below clear blue skies and pleasant summer temperatures of 22ºC, Rossi’s main difficulty was balancing the intense force exerted on the front end of the bike at this circuit, a problem exacerbated by the extra rear grip offered by the softer qualifying tyres. Whilst the Italian is hopeful of working on a solution with his team overnight, Edwards is less optimistic having been unable to exactly pinpoint the root of his problems and leaving only Sundays 20-minute warm-up to clarify an adequate set-up and tyre choice for the race.
Rossi will aim to make as much progress as possible early in the race as he starts from the fourth row in eleventh spot whilst Edwards has an even bigger challenge ahead as he looks to remount from a row further back in fifteenth.
VALENTINO ROSSI (11th – 1’22.868; 32 laps)
“The race setting is not so bad but things were very different on the qualifying tyre. We are getting too much weight onto the front end of the bike and when the rear qualifying tyre grips so much this pushes the front even harder and I almost crashed a couple of times. My hand is still a bit sore but to be honest when I am riding I don’t even think about it and this is not what is troubling us today. It looks like the race will be tough because Dani Pedrosa has a very fast pace but I am starting from a long way back. Unfortunately I can’t say that we are down in eleventh because I was unlucky; today we deserve to be in eleventh and we have a lot of work to do. It’s difficult to overtake at this track and you need a good setting to make up positions in the race. At the moment our bike is not quite ready and this situation is not limited to today – it seems we have struggled in practice all year. Once again I need another great job from my mechanics tonight so that I can try and chase the lead group on Sunday.”
COLIN EDWARDS (15th – 1’23.087; 29 laps)
“I’m feeling disappointed and frustrated tonight because we’ve tried everything – changed the steering head column, the rear links, the swingarm links – but not got anywhere. The bike is a little better than yesterday but it is still not fast enough and when I’m following other guys around it seems as though they are running at a different track. Honestly, I think the team has worked harder here than at any other circuit this year but it’s just not happening for us and we need a miracle now. The bike is a bit of a handful at the moment and the worrying thing is that I don’t know exactly where we can find the improvement in time for Sundays race. Anyway, we’ll keep working and see if we can come up with something in the morning.”
DAVIDE BRIVIO – CAMEL YAMAHA TEAM DIRECTOR
“Again it will be a difficult start to the race for us, with Valentino and Colin on the fourth and fifth rows. We are struggling with the qualifying tyre, even though Valentino’s race pace is not so bad – very similar to Pedrosa and Hayden. The problem for him now is his position on the grid because it is a big disadvantage at such a tight circuit like this. We will do our best to make the right changes for him in the morning and hopefully we can come up with something for Colin too. We need a big effort from the whole team over the next 24 hours and I’m sure our riders will do their bit to perform.”