Jorge Lorenzo Speaks… (1st, 1’36.214)"It’s been quite a few races since I’ve had a pole! I was getting a bit worried because doing one fast lap has always been one of my strong points but lately we haven’t been able to be quite competitive enough with the soft tyre. This weekend however everything is working really well and the setting with both tyres is great, so I was able to go out and do some very fast laps. Tomorrow is another day and we know that everyone will be strong, so we will just try and push to the limit and see what happens."Valentino Rossi Speaks… (2nd, 1’36.474)
"We improved the setting a lot this afternoon from yesterday and managed to fix a lot of the problems we had in the braking, so today was not so bad. We still need more traction on the exits from the slow corners however and we are also losing some time in the tight hairpin. We are not so far but we need to study the data and find a way to improve things a bit more for the race. It will be quite a strong fight tomorrow I think and 28 laps in this heat is going to be hard, but we will be ready." CASEY STONER Speaks… (3rd; 1’36.528)"Yesterday it looked as though a front row start was a long shot but at the end of the qualifying session today I was actually disappointed not to be on pole! This morning we came out and everything felt good and this afternoon was the same. My body’s sore because I haven’t been on the bike for so long but so far I haven’t struggled with any of the symptoms that had bothered me before the break. We were competitive on race tyres but when we put the soft tyres on to make them work we couldn’t get any grip. We weren’t generating any heat into the right hand side of the tyre so I don’t know if it was a faulty batch or we were just unlucky. The second tyre had more grip but I didn’t use it to its full potential. Anyway, a front row start is nice for us and I want to thank my whole team and everybody else who has stuck by me lately. We’ve had a lot of critics while I’ve been away and I’ve had to laugh at some of the things I’ve read. Tomorrow is the race, which is the big one, but it’s nice to come back in this way and I think we’ve already shown that it was the right decision to take the time off."Colin Edwards Speaks… (5th, 1.37.142)"If you’re the next best rider on the timesheets behind the four best in the world then you’re not doing a bad job. And I felt like I did a good job today. We tuned the bike to get rid of some of the small movement issues I had with the front yesterday. It made it more comfortable but the chan ges meant the bike didn’t turn as well. We played around with the setting to make it turn better again but then the movement returned. At this track you need the turning so I can handle the movement. I’m probably trying to make the bike feel too perfect. The first corner here is always pretty tricky and after what happened in Misano I’ll be trying to make it through. I genuinely believe I can fight for the podium tomorrow. I know it will be really difficult but Dani (Pedrosa) had some problems at the end of the race in Misano and nobody is sure whether Casey (Stoner) is going to be able to keep his pace for 28-laps. I’m sure it will be a good race though and I’m looking forward to having a strong finish to the year for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team."James Toseland Speaks.. (12th, 1.37.823)"It has been a little bit frustrating today because we decided to change the geomet ry and the wheelbase of the bike, but it meant we had less time to find the ideal set-up. Towards the end of the session we found a good set-up and while 12th on the grid is not bad, I feel I could have been at least one row further forward. That’s frustrating but I’m sure I’ll be starting the race tomorrow in pretty good shape. My lap times on race tyres are good and I’m looking forward to a really good warm-up session because we’ll be making a couple of slight tweaks that I think will give us even better performance. The first corner is always quite difficult at this track with it being so tight, so my plan is to try and stay out of trouble, get my head down and have a really good race for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team."NICKY HAYDEN Speaks… (9th; 1’37.654)"We’ve made a little bit of progress in every session with every run, just slowly chipping away. We made quite a big change again this afternoon and dropped another eight tenths off the lap time, although obviously some of that was down to using the softer tyre. The team has done a good job – we’ve tried a couple of things we’ve never tried before and made some progress. I thought I maybe had the chance to qualify a little bit better but at the start of my last flying lap De Angelis ran into the back of me on the front straightaway! I mean, I can understand if you bump a guy in the middle of a second gear corner or something but there I was doing 274km/h and they can see on the data where the bike came unstable because you can see the steering go side to side. My first instinct was that something had happened to the bike so I shut off the throttle and it ruined my last flying lap. Anyway, we’re on the third row and it’s going to be a long, hard race tomorrow. I know a lot of guys in my group are going about the same speed but if we can take another little step in the morning we’ll be okay. Like always it will be important to get a good start and not get boxed in the first turn. We’ll see."
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This week, in the first segment Editor Don Williams talks to us about the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. It’s the middleweight ADV style machine that uses the same 650 parallel twin motor as the Ninja 650, so it’s an excellent performer in a user-friendly, good looking package.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my dearest industry friends—now retired Honda PR executive, Jon Seidel. Jon’s fascinating career spans some 30 years with Big Red, and gave him some great experiences with some incredible machines. I was fortunate enough to be invited on many of the press launches that he organized. His new project is documenting and saving many of the old archives from years gone by—and incidentally, if you have anything that may be of value to the project, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass it all on to Jon.
So on that note, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!