Malaysia MotoGP: Qualifying Rider Quotes

MotoGP News

Jorge Lorenzo said he needed to fight for pole position at the Malaysia Grand Prix in Sepang, and this is just what the Fiat Yamaha rider did Saturday for Round 15 of the 2010 MotoGP Championship.

The series’ leader is now starting from the most ideal spot on the grid to finish ninth or better, which will secure the Spaniard his debut 2010 title.

Joining him on the front row are Ducati Team rider Nicky Hayden, which is his best start of the season, and Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso, who finished second last weekend at Motegi after starting from the pole.

The second row consists of Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Ben Spies, Ducati Team’s Casey Stoner and Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi.

Here’s what the MotoGP riders were saying following Saturday’s qualifying session at Sepang:

Jorge Lorenzo says: “I really wanted to fight for the pole position today, because I know the race tomorrow is going to be tough and it will be difficult to battle for the victory.”

“We were strong throughout the session and in the end we did a great lap; I am so happy to be back on pole. Now the moment is arriving, it’s such an important day for my career and I’m excited for tomorrow. We are starting in the best shape and we just have to see what happens. For now we will try to stay calm and focused!”

Valentino Rossi says: “With the hard tire we’re not so bad, even if we’re lacking some grip and the bike is moving a bit, so it’s not so easy to control. However with the softer tire we suffered a lot more because the movement became bigger and I couldn’t use the extra grip.”

“This means I am only on the second row. Tomorrow’s race will be very hard, maybe the hardest of the season because the temperature is unbelievable and starting from the second row will make it even harder, but we will do our best and hope to make a good start.”

Nicky Hayden says: “This is a bit of a surprise, I didn’t expect to be on the front row today. We only missed pole by one tenth but don’t anybody feel sorry for us, we’re pretty happy! The lap itself was obviously a good one, I don’t think I could have got any more out of myself or the bike, but overall we’ve done a good job today.”

“We were struggling yesterday but we went back to a setting that worked for us in the test and even though I didn’t get the lap time this morning I told the guys not to make too many changes to the bike because I felt comfortable and knew I could improve purely through riding. Once again my thanks go to the team because everybody knows it’s tough on the riders in this heat but it’s tough for them too and they’re doing a great job.”

Casey Stoner says:

”I’m a little disappointed with the way qualifying went today. We made a little progress with the race setting on the harder tire. We didn’t get a lot of laps in but we are happy with the work we did on the bike and feel reasonably confident. When I went to use the softer compound to set a qualifying lap on we lost feeling completely.”

“There was no traction on the rear yet it was still pushing the front at the same time. We couldn’t do the lap time we wanted or even deserved but we know our pace is faster than a couple of the guys in front of us on the grid so we’ll see if we can get past them in the race.”

Andrea Dovizioso says: “It’s always important to be on the front row – and this was actually more satisfying than the pole position in Japan because the conditions were so extreme today. The level of riders and bikes in MotoGP is so high and so the front row also means we have done a really good job so far this weekend. We have moved things on from where we were in Japan and improved our electronic set-up again – we’ve found a good direction, which is really positive.”

“I want to say thank you to my team and to HRC for working hard to achieve this. It’s going to be a tough race because it’s so hot here, but I’m looking forward to it. For tomorrow it’s difficult to understand how the race will pan out – we’ll have to study the lap times from today to get a feeling for our rivals’ performance; qualifying doesn’t always give you the real picture of what everyone’s race pace will be. In terms of tyre choice, I think it will be the hard option for us.”

Ben Spies says: “I’m happy to be so close to the front row and it gives me a lot of encouragement for the race. From fourth on the grid it means another good start will put me in contention for a strong race. I did a race simulation this morning so at least I know how the bike is working in race set-up and I’m happy with it.”

“I intentionally did the longer run in lower heat condition s just to see how I felt. It was still pretty brutal but I felt pretty good and it set me up for a good qualifying. This afternoon was the first time I really used the soft tire. Everything went pretty good and I put together one decent lap time and then I had good lap going when I made a mistake at the final corner.”

“I caught Colin and he was actually trying give me a tow down the back straight to help me out, but I was a little further back than he thought and by the time I got to him we were hitting the brakes and I missed my brake marker and ran wide. That lap would have put me on the front row for sure but I’m confident that if we raced right now I’d be in the top five and that’s what I’m looking for.”

Colin Edwards says: “It was really hot out there this afternoon. Each time I was in the pits I was pouring water all over me and it’s goin g to be a tough race tomorrow in that heat. I would love to say I could have gone faster but I gave it my maximum and there wasn’t a lot left in the tank. But the bike feels really good and my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 did a great job because we found a lot more grip today.”

“The grip was so good in Japan last weekend that you kind of come here and expect a similar feeling, but we had to change everything on the bike to get some grip. We’ve definitely made the bike a lot better and I’m confident for the race. As for Ben, I was coming into the pits and I looked back coming out of turn four and I could see he was behind me.”

“I thought I’d pick my pace up a little bit so I could perhaps tow him down the back straight and he might be able to get on the front row or even pole. But as I got closer to the final corner I guess he just missed his braking marker. Both of us ended up decent on the grid though and I’m looking forward to the race.”

Randy de Puniet says: “Honestly I am very disappointed because we made a very good job in the first two sessions and I was confident for the qualifying. But since the beginning of the practice I had a bad feeling on the harder front tyre. So we moved back on the softer option which we used this morning and for a few laps I was back on my pace but then the front started to move again and I almost crashed a couple of times in the last two run. In these conditions I could not push more. I hope we can find a solution in tomorrow’s warm up session.”

Loris Capirossi says: says: “I am a little bit upset about this morning, I felt quite confident about coming here because we did a good winter test and I thought we could do well this weekend, so what happened this morning was very disappointing. This afternoon I tried to ride the best I could, but my condition is not so good so I am pleased to get on to the third row.”

“We will have to see what happens tomorrow, because we are still struggling a bit with electronics – although we did find a solution near the end of the session. I am positive about the race and hope to have a better day tomorrow than I did today. I am happy that I was still able to get on the bike and ride after such a big crash and I will still be trying to do my best tomorrow for the whole team.”

Álvaro Bautista says: “It’s strange because this has been my best qualifying position of the season but I feel like it is not enough. We still need to be positive about it though because we are in a better position than we have been before and we have to try to make the most of that.”

“I did a long run on the softer compound tires today and was able to cover a race distance, maybe grip went in the final lap, but in this category the first laps are very important so we still have to decide if we are going to use the softer option and get the maximum early on.”

“I used a new rear tire at the end of the session and improved my lap-time and in the last lap I made a mistake in T2, but my T1 and T3 was better than my fastest lap so maybe I could have improved my time and been further up the grid. The time between first and me is not too big and if I can get a good start tomorrow I think I can stay with the group in front and follow them – the first laps here will be very important so I must make the most of them.”

Hiroshi Aoyama says: “We had massive problems with the front end feeling during the qualifying session. I was able to improve my lap time, but it was not as I had promised myself. We tried the bike we were not able to use yesterday this morning and it was better, so we used it, but we lost a whole session yesterday and that’s not good for us. Tomorrow in Warm up we will try some more things, but we don’t have much time left.”

Aleix Espargarò says: “I’m quite pleased for qualifying session outcome, after yesterday’s best eighth lap time, I was hoping to conquer a top ten starting grid position. The twelfth position is still a good placement to be able to fight with the other riders for a good race position. I improved my lap time thanks to a better grip on the rear of my bike. I am very confident for tomorrow’s race where I’ll try to get a good result to forget the negative race I had last week in Japan.”

Mika Kallio says: “Too bad for the bad qualifying session, I was not able to ride my bike in the best way because I had some physical problems that I’m trying to remedy during the last two races. Unfortunately from a couple of races my left shoulder pain, that it was injured in Le Mans after a fall, is coming up again.”

“I feel much pain, but I hope that tomorrow the situation will considerably improve. I’ll start the race in the last position, but I will give the best I can to be protagonist of a good race.”

Marco Melandri says: “I think we did a good job with the race setting this afternoon but we always struggle on a soft tire and the problems weren’t as bad as usual this afternoon, so I am confident for tomorrow.”

“I still think we can make improvements to our race setting and I feel much more optimistic about the race than I have been doing recently. The race will be tough on the tires and the riders because it is hard to breathe after three laps. We’ll also have to keep an eye on the weather because the rain is always a threat here.”

Marco Simoncelli says: “I am a little bit disappointed today because after practice this morning I thought I was capable of much more and the afternoon session started really well. Unfortunately when we started to work with the softer tyre I lost a little feeling with the bike and couldn’t improve my lap time. That’s a shame but the positive thing is that in race trim we are quite fast. Starting from the fourth row won’t make it easy tomorrow but I am confident of a good performance.”

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One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007 and is currently Editor at Large at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of 365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).