Local hero Valentino Rossi took his sixth pole of the season at Misano in Italy this afternoon, meaning he has finished on top of the standings in all three sessions so far this weekend. Team-mate Lorenzo qualified third, edged out by Dani Pedrosa but continuing his 100% front-row qualifying record for the season.
A welcome sea breeze meant temperatures today were marginally cooler but it was still tough work as Rossi and Lorenzo pushed each other hard in the morning session, the Italian finishing two-tenths in front of the Spaniard. Lorenzo then took an early lead in this afternoon’s practice before Rossi took over with twenty minutes remaining, both riders showing a strong race pace as they continued to fine-tune the settings of their M1s around the 2.626 km track.
Rossi’s time looked fairly untouchable until the riders put in the softer Bridgestone tyres at the end of the session and the lead then swapped a few times between him, Lorenzo and Pedrosa. The championship leader had the last word however with a brilliant final lap to take his 58th career pole. Lorenzo tried his hardest to answer back and set his fastest time of the session on his last lap, but the 22-year-old couldn’t quite get there today and had to settle for third. Tomorrow’s race promises another exciting battle between the championship leaders when it gets underway at 1400 local time.
Valentino Rossi Speaks… Position: 1st Time: 1’34.338 Laps: 29
"We expected it to be a bit cooler today but in the end it wasn’t so different from yesterday and it’s still very hard work for all the riders. This afternoon the grip wasn’t great and we found it a bit harder with the race pace, but then we made a second round of modifications and everything felt very good. I am very happy to get the pole position here in Misano. I was able to do a great first lap on my final tyre and that was enough for pole, and the team changed the tyre in the time of an F1 pit stop so thanks to them! We know that it’s going to be a very tough race tomorrow, but we are in good shape. If anyone is wondering about my helmet…I have the donkey on it because in Italy, if you make a stupid mistake we say that you are a donkey. I made a mistake in Indy so this is why! I think it’s very funny!"
Jorge Lorenzo Speaks… Position: 2nd Time: 1’34.808 Laps: 32
"I think the race tomorrow is going to be quite painful in this heat and the physical condition is going to be very important! It will be a long race but we are in good shape and I am looking forward to the challenge. Unfortunately I wasn’t fast enough with the soft tyre right at the end, but we are still on the front row once again and this is the most important thing. My race pace is very good and I did some consistent runs, even though we still have some areas that we need to improve a bit because our setting isn’t perfect yet. But I know that I can push tomorrow, even if it will be very hard."
Davide Brivio Speaks… Team Manager
"It looked like Valentino really wanted this pole here in Misano! I think we’ve worked very well here so far this weekend, and we’ve got a good base. Valentino is in great shape and we think we’re ready for another big battle. It’s going to be difficult and we expect to see Lorenzo and Pedrosa there at the front as well, but we’re in the best position. Let’s race!"
Daniele Romagnoli Speaks… Team Manager
"In the end we’re happy about today, the front row is always our target and at this track it’s especially important. Of course we were looking for pole position and Jorge did a great job, the last lap was his fastest but unfortunately it wasn’t quite fast enough to beat Valentino, who was very strong today. Our race pace is good but we still need to make a few improvements to the setting, especially the front end as we have a bit of understeer. Now we will check the data and see what we can do to make sure we’re able to put up a good fight."
1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda
3. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team
4. Toni Elias (SPA) San Carlo Honda Gresini
5. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
6. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team
7. Alex De Angelis (RSM) San Carlo Honda Gresini
8. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda
9. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP
10. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
11. Mika Kallio (FIN) Ducati Marlboro Team
12. Marco Melandri (ITA) Hayate Racing Team
13. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
14. James Toseland (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
15. Alex Espagaro (SPA) Pramac Racing
16. Niccolo Canepa (ITA) Pramac Racing
17. Gabor Talmacsi (HUN) Scot Racing Team MotoGP
Misano: Record Lap
V. Rossi (Yamaha) 2008, 1’34.904
Misano: Best Lap
C.Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1’33.378