MotoGP qualifying interviews Phillip Island
Casey Stoner Speaks… (1st; 1’30.341)
"It’s a great feeling to be on pole position again, especially here at my home race. I’ve had great support from the fans here this weekend and it is nice to give them something to cheer for today, although the real work starts tomorrow. To be honest we’re still struggling for traction, which seems to be the same problem for everybody, but we have worked hard this season to create a bike that turns well – trying things like going back to the aluminium swingarm – and it has paid off so far this weekend. This is a great track to ride at when you’re comfortable with your bike and even though we still don’t have a perfect set-up I still felt confident enough to push it at the end and it was good fun. Now I’m really looking forward to tomorrow, especially because we’re going to be running a special livery and I’d really like to thank our sponsors for that."
Nicky Hayden Speaks… (7th; 1’31.325)
"The bike felt a lot better this morning compared to yesterday although to be fair we only ran it on new tyres before the rain came and maybe that gave us a false impression of just how good it was. Having said that, it felt okay this afternoon too and I was able to push it pretty hard and enjoy myself – probably for the first time this weekend. I was in fifth place for a good while in the first half of the session but ended up seventh, just over two tenths off the front row, and I’m disappointed with that because I really hoped we’d be closer to the front at this track. Anyway, it’s tomorrow that counts and I’m looking forward to the race because as I said I’ve finally started to enjoy myself this afternoon. The problem could be that the race doesn’t start until 4pm so it will be approaching 5 by the time we finish, and that is going to have a massive effect on tyre choice and everything else."
Colin Edwards Speaks… (5th 1.31.096 – 27s laps)
"I can’t remember how long I’ve been racing at this track but it is always a different experience and today was no exception. It’s no secret that Yamaha had to make the bike much shorter this year to maximise the performance of the Bridgestone tyres, and it hasn’t been easy to make the set-up work this weekend. With the track flowing like it does you need a stable bike for the fast sections but some agility for turning. But it seems with the shorter wheelbase bike here, a tiny change completely transforms the feeling. My guys have worked unbelievably hard to make me more comfortable and we found something that almost got me on the front row for the first time this year. On this track you’ve really got to take some risks to get a fast time, but you can’t do that without having the bike right. At the end I had a setting where the risk was reduced a lot and I could push much harder without feeli ng like I was right on the limit. I feel we’ve got a good package for the race. I’ve got three races to take nine points out of (Andrea) Dovizioso for fifth in the championship and he’s a few places behind me on the grid. I’ll just hope the weather smiles on us so I can get my head down and put up a strong fight."
Valentino Rossi Speaks… (2nd Time: 1’30.391 Laps: 30)
"We are on the front row which is the most important thing and I think we can definitely have a good race tomorrow. We have a few things to check in the morning, depending on the weather, including the final tyre choice – of course we hope for it to be dry. I have a good setting and with the last modification we made I was able to make another step and we were quite fast. The pole position was possible today but unfortunately I made a mistake in the last section on my flying lap and Stoner was able to go a little bit faster than me. We have an advantage on Lorenzo, which is important for the championship points, and I hope that I will be able to fight with Stoner for the win."
Jorge Lorenzo Speaks… (4th Time: 1’31.071 Laps: 31)
"I’m a bit disappointed to lose my 100% front-row qualifying record by such a tiny amount, but today we just didn’t quite have enough pace. We still don’t have enough grip on the rear and the tyre is spinning too much, which makes it difficult to be fast enough. Tomorrow I will try to adapt my riding style instead in order to try to make it onto the podium. I feel better than yesterday but I’m still not at 100%; I feel quite weak still because I haven’t been able to eat much. I will have to try before tomorrow in order to have enough strength for the race. I don’t feel any pressure, I will just go out and do my best."
James Toseland Speaks… (12th 1.31.722 – 30 laps)
"Once again today we saw just how close the competition is in MotoGP and how small the difference is between having a really strong grid position or being down the order. Another two or three tenths and I would have been in the top six and feeling much better after all the hard work we put in today. But today wasn’t easy because I was looking for more rear grip. But changing the set-up to give me more rear grip, we sacrificed too much of the front-end feeling. And when you don’t have front feeling on the fastest track on th e calendar with some really flat-out sections, you can’t ride with the confidence you need. We made some changes to bring back my confidence with the front, but that just created wheelspin and a lack of rear grip again in some parts of the track. We just need to find a compromise but I’m not a million miles away. I’m confident with a good start that battling for a top six is certainly within reach. I’ve still got plenty to fight for in these last three races, so as usual I’ll be giving it my maximum for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team."
Loris Capirossi Speaks… (P13, 1’31.873, 30 laps)
"It was another tough day for us today, even though we did make another step with the overall setting of the bike. During the morning session we were making some good progress, but after 30 minutes it started to rain and ruined what we were doing. In the qualifying the conditions were better and we made some good runs with the harder compound tyre and it wasn’t too bad for us, but when we tried to go quicker with the softer one we just couldn’t make a big difference. We struggled on the left corners because we were spinning a lot and we need to find a good solution to give us better traction. We have improved the feeling from the front compared to yesterday, but it is not enough because we need better traction to go faster. It is bad to be starting so far back, but for sure in tomorrow’s race I won’t finish in the same place in the race as I did in the qualifying!"
Chris Vermeulen Speaks… (P15, 1’32.338, 29 laps)
"We had difficult weather this afternoon; the rain could have come at any moment just like it did this morning. We did a few laps in the wet this morning – in fact I think I was the first one out – and the bike felt pretty good and I managed to get lots of information if it’s wet tomorrow. In the dry it was tough in qualifying and we’re really struggling with rear grip on the left-hand-side and the performance of the tyre seems to drop off after only a few laps, so we need to try and improve on that. We tried some things today that helped a bit and we went over a second quicker than we did yesterday, but it’s still not where we need to be. We need to find some positives from today and go and give it 100% tomorrow."