News Report 11 April 2009

2009 MotoGP Qatar - Doha/Losail

View results Track information
Losail Circuit
5380 m
04 / 12 / 2009
Time to be confirmed

Fiat Yamaha pair share front row for floodlit opener


Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo will share the front row for tomorrow’s season-opening Grand Prix in Qatar, having qualified second and third in tonight’s session at the Losail International Circuit. The pair were split by just 0.024 seconds tonight and beaten only by Casey Stoner, with Rossi and Stoner having now been first and second in all three sessions.

Despite the single-tyre rule having spelled the end of one-lap qualifying tyres, tonight’s session proved to be exciting nonetheless with most riders, including Rossi and Lorenzo, choosing to keep one of the softer compound Bridgestone tyres to use at the end of the 45 minutes for a couple of flying laps. Tomorrow’s 22-lap race will see the riders using the harder compound Bridgestone rubber and Rossi, who has had a good race pace all weekend, is confident of being able to mount a strong challenge. Lorenzo meanwhile has posted his fast times on the softer tyre and now needs to make a few changes together with his team and use the warm-up well in order to refine his setting and find a better feeling with the race tyre. The race will begin at 2300 local time, CET 2200.

Valentino Rossi - Position: 2nd Time: 1'55.759 Laps: 19
“I am really happy to be on the front row here because we know that this isn’t one of our best tracks. We also knew that Stoner would be strong and, although this is definitely true, we’re not too far off and the gap is closing all the time. Starting second is going to be very important here because there is a question mark over the tyres on this surface. The asphalt is still very dirty which is hard on the tyres and I think that the last few laps are going to be quite entertaining! There are a couple of places on the track where we can still be faster so we will have a look at the data and I hope we can make another step in the warm up and fix a couple of small problems. There is definitely a question mark over the last six or seven laps though and I think we could be sliding about a bit. Anyway, everyone is in the same position, with the same tyres, and it could make it quite fun; let’s wait and see.”
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 3rd Time: 1'55.783 Laps: 19
“After being on pole here in my first MotoGP race last year, I am happy to be back on the front row at least! It is going to be important I think because it will be a hard race. During the test here I was faster with the hard tyre but for some reason we have the opposite situation this time and I am much faster with the soft tyre. With the hard tyre we have a few issues still, which is a problem because this is the tyre we need to use for the race. Now we need to work hard to try to solve the problem tonight. Tomorrow I won’t be thinking about winning, just about doing the best I can and taking as many points as is possible in the circumstances. Of course you never know what will happen in a race!”

Davide Brivio - Team Manager
“The first row was our main target so we’re pleased with this result. We were also able to make a few more adjustments and improve the setting, so we’re happy with how we’ve used the reduced track time we’ve had. The gap to Stoner is still there but we will try a few more things in the morning to try and close it a bit more, then the rest will be up to Valentino!”

Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager
“Tonight’s session was not so bad, and it’s good for everyone in the team to see Jorge on the front row here again. We know that he can be fast with the soft tyre but we still need to improve the pace with the hard tyre because at the moment we still have some problems, mainly on the entry to the turn where the bike is still understeering. We have some ideas and the warm-up is going to be very important to improve things so that Jorge can ride to his full potential tomorrow night.”

Edwards on second row, Toseland 13th on grid for Qatar opener
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Colin Edwards will start the opening MotoGP race of 2009 in Qatar from the second row of the grid after an impressive qualifying performance tonight. A best lap of 1.56.149 left the Texan less than 0.5s off claiming a second successive front row start at the floodlit Losail International Circuit, Edwards adapting well to the first running of a new qualifying format. Tonight's session was the first time that riders have not used super soft qualifying tyres to decide grid places, with qualifiers no longer required under the new single tyre rule. Qualifying was still an exciting affair though with Edwards figuring prominently during the 45-minute session. He was consistently in the top three and only two minutes remained when he held fourth place as Edwards posted his best time on the last of three soft Bridgestone tyres he saved from his allocation of six available.

British rider James Toseland had a frustrating evening, the 28-year-old qualifying down in 13th place on the timesheets with a best time of 1.57.510. Toseland opted to use two soft rear tyres but it was a small problem with a hard compound front tyre that prevented him from ending the session with a deserved top ten. Toseland though is confident that he can mount an attack for a top six finish in tomorrow's 22-lap race having been consistently able to run in the top ten throughout the weekend. To coincide with the start of the new MotoGP campaign, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team's popular website has undergone a redesign for 2009. Log onto for all the latest news and pictures.
Colin Edwards 6th 1.56.194 – 19 laps
“I'm reasonably happy with the second row but I thought I had a shot at being in the top three. But even though I'm a veteran I'm still learning. I came here with a bike set-up different than what I've been running in the winter to cure some movement issues with the front when I push harder. The new setting is better but I've still got some of those issues and it is a little confusing. Valentino (Rossi) is going fast and he doesn't have any issues, and Jorge (Lorenzo) is the same. So I've got to figure something out. I've made progress and I feel like I can go faster, but I'm having to anticipate the movement and that is not helping the lap time. I've got to figure out whether I need to go softer or harder with the front forks. I just wish I were an engineer because right now I'm not sure which direction I need to take. The new qualifying format was still exciting. I kept three softer tyres back and did two laps on each, and each time I got faster, but not quite fast enough for the front row. I'm looking forward to the race now and I feel ready. The guys in front of me are within touching distance though Casey (Stoner) is on another planet. Hats off to him, but I'm ready for the battle.”
James Toseland 13th 1.57.510
“I started on a used front tyre that had done thirteen laps and I was straight into the low 58s and I thought great. I put a new hard front tyre in with my first soft rear tyre and the front never seemed to get to temperature. And when I put in my second soft rear the front wasn't so stable mid-corner. Now you can't just throw another tyre in with the new rules, so I'm really frustrated because the rear tyre was working pretty good. To do a 57 with the problems I had I'm actually pleased with that because I picked the bike up on my knee twice and I still did a reasonable lap time. I'm a bit disappointed because the bike was feeling good and I'm sure I could have got around the top six, but there was nothing I could do with the small issue with the front. I've got to take it on the chin and build on the progress I've made prior to the end of that session. If everything had gone to plan then I'd have qualified in the top ten and been looking at fighting for the top six. I'm going to need a good start and get my head down but I'm riding well and looking forward to it.”