Portugal MotoGP: Estoril Qualifying Quotes

MotoGP Racer Quotes

The big news on MotoGP qualifying for the Portuguese Grand Prix had nothing to do with riders, but more with Mother Nature. Tumultuous Atlantic weather arrived at Estoril, forcing officials to cancel qualifying.

So to create the grid for Sunday’s MotoGP race at Estoril, the race directors took the best combined time from the three free practice session.

This gave Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo the pole. The 2010 MotoGP Champion will be joined on the front row by Ducati Team rider Nicky Hayden, and Fiat Yamaha’s other rider, Valentino Rossi.

The second row will be filled by Hayden’s teammate Casey Stoner, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Ben Spies and San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Melandri.

Here’s what the riders were saying after the canceled qualifying at Estoril:

Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha M1) says: “It was a pity about this today because we needed a bit more time in the very wet conditions to try to improve our setting more, but there was no way we could have ridden this afternoon. This morning I felt quite good but at the end I was pushing too hard, I thought the other riders were closer to my time and I just went a step too far and crashed.”

“I was lucky, my airbag inflated and I didn’t hurt myself. Now we have to wait and see how the weather is and we especially hope that warm-up is the same conditions as the race, it will be very, very difficult if not. Today I became the Spanish rider with the most poles of all time, joint with Aspar, and this is a great honour for me, I feel very proud.”

Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha M1) says: “It’s a real disappointment about today because we had some things we wanted to try, but in the end the rain was just too much and it was too dangerous. It really was impossible to ride this afternoon! In the wet I have a good setting, even if we could have improved a bit this afternoon, but I am happy about the balance of my bike.”

“Now we just have to wait for the conditions tomorrow. We are prepared for the wet; if it’s dry it could be interesting! If it’s dry from the morning and it’s possible to have the warm-up in the dry then it will be okay to have a dry race, but if warm-up is wet and then the race is dry….honestly it’s better not like this! We will just have to wait and see and at least we’re on the front row.”

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team GP10) says: “This morning wasn’t so wet but my feeling wasn’t great and I had a crash quite early in the session so we have a few things we need to work on. I know it’s not great for the fans here and the people watching at home but with that amount of water on track it wasn’t worth the risk this afternoon.”

“Of course we accept risks every day in our sport but in these conditions it’s just too much. It was a shame it washed out but for me a front row’s a front row and now we have to try and take advantage of it. The weather looks like it could be good tomorrow, in which case it could be a pretty wild race. We’ll just crack them curtains open, see what we got and try to make a good race.”

Casey Stoner (Ducati Team GP10) says: “What can I say? This weekend has been a bit of a disaster. We’ve had four sessions and only been able to ride in two, whilst the forecast for tomorrow is sketchy. If anything it looks like it might rain in the morning and then be dry for the race, which would throw up all kind of confusion with set-up – from fuel consumption to tire choice.”

“It’s disappointing we didn’t get the opportunity to try for a front row start because I think we had a good chance today but that’s the way it turned out. All we can do is wait and see what happens tomorrow.”

Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech 3 M1) says: “There was no way we could have ridden this afternoon. There is nothing we could have done about it but it is frustrating for me having missed the first session too because of the weather when I need to be doing laps to get more accustomed to the track. It’s a shame too this afternoon because we were looking to make big strides with the bike.”

“I don’t have a lot of time on this bike in the rain so we’ve basically been running a softer version of my dry setting. But I’ve been told there’s quite a radical change that Yamaha think would really help me and I didn’t get chance to try it. That’s a bit unfortunate because I was told the bike would feel better and I was already pretty confident in the rain.”

“That said I’ve still a good starting position in fifth, so learning the track quickly yesterday helped me out a lot. We can’t do anything about the weather so we’ll wake up tomorrow, see what the skies have for us and go for it wet or dry. I don’t feel like we’ll be miles off even if it is dry and I’ve never ridden in full dry conditions at this track.”

Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3 M1) says: “It is a little bit annoying to be on the third row of the grid because I was looking good yesterday before the crash and this morning I was fifth quickest. I missed out yesterday when the track conditions were better than at any other stage this weekend because of the crash and I’m sure I could have been much higher up the grid. But there was no way we could have gone out in those conditions.”

“It was impossible so I’m not going to get too upset about it and just look forward to the race. I feel if it is wet tomorrow that I’m going to be really strong because the rain setting is working really good. If it is dry I’m confident and I’m sure I will be able to come through the field and get a good result. I guess the worst case scena rio is if it is a wet warm-up and then a dry race but I feel ready rain or shine.”

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) says: “We were improving step-by-step this morning in terms of my lap times and my position and I think we could have continued that this afternoon, so it’s a pity the qualifying session was canceled – although of course there was no alternative. At the beginning of the morning session I didn’t feel particularly confident on the machine but I decided with the team to stay out and keep lapping to get more time on the bike. It was a good decision because we made some good progress in the second half of the session.”

“We wanted to move further forward on the grid this afternoon and I think this should have been possible if the session had gone ahead. Tomorrow we don’t know what the weather will do, but what I do know is that from 12th I have to make a great start – wet or dry. I’m not thinking about what Casey and Valentino will do tomorrow – all I can do is give my maximum and hope to keep any loss as small as possible.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) says: “I’m sorry we couldn’t have the qualifying session because our target was to get a front row starting position and, since I was third in the wet this morning, that looked achievable for us. This morning we improved a lot in terms of our set-up and electronics, and I was able to maintain a fast and consistent pace thanks to some important changes on the machine. It was really impossible to have qualifying though – there was no way we could ride in those conditions.”

“Tomorrow the weather forecast seems to be for a wet warm-up and a dry race – and if this happens it really means the race will be a lottery because no one has had any practice time in the dry. Also for me this is a track where it takes some time to find a good rhythm, so really I hope for a dry warm-up session and a dry race.”

Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) says: “What can I say?… It was not safe for us to ride in these conditions so this is the best solution. This morning we saved one set of tires ahead the qualifying thinking that the conditions could be a bit better but at the end we could not take this advantage. Anyway my yesterday’s lap time gave me the chance to start from the third row. We could have done a lot better but we focused on race set up not on the lap time. We are pleased with our race pace in the wet but if the race will be dry we will be all in the same difficult situation.”

Aleix Espargarò (Pramac Racing Team Ducati) says: “The bike was much better on the wet track this morning then yesterday and the seventh fastest time that I was able to conquer during this morning free practice is the proof of that. I could try to gain a better starting grid position, instead of the eleventh in which I’ll take part to the race. After this morning free practice I spoke a lot with my engineers to identify additional improvements that could afford the bike to be more efficient. Too bad because I was not able to try them on track. ”

Carlos Checa (Pramac Racing Team Ducati) says: “The last position on the starting grid for my return to MotoGP World is not very exciting. I’m still very happy because I had improved my feeling with the bike during this morning and also because I have reduced my best lap time by almost half of a second. For now it’s okay. I hope to be able to make many laps during tomorrow warm up in order to further improve my feeling.”

Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki GSV-R) says: “I am a little bit upset about the weather because it has made it really strange for the whole weekend. Yesterday morning we didn’t do practice because of the rain, then we were able to go out in the afternoon, this morning we rode in the wet and then this afternoon we just couldn’t go out because it was so dangerous on the track.”

“Overall I feel quite happy with the bike, but I am not happy at being 13th on the grid. I was 10th yesterday and 10th this morning, but on combined times I have dropped back! I think it looks like the weather tomorrow will be better and I believe we can have a competitive race if it is. The bike worked well here last year, so we are feeling quite positive and hoping for a good result.”

Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki GSV-R) says: “I am disappointed, but at least this morning we were able to try a different setting in the bike and it felt much better than yesterday. We had another improvement for this afternoon, but we could not try that. Depending on the weather tomorrow we will continue with the wet weather settings and try to make some improvements for those conditions during the warm-up.”

“If it is dry it will be new for everybody so it will be interesting to see who is faster in the drier conditions and who can adapt the quickest. I will be pushing really hard for a good result, I just hope I can make a good start and fight my way through.”

Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda) says: “Unfortunately the Qualifying was canceled. We wanted to try some adjustments on the bike and try to improve the lap times. But I think that the decision made was right, as it is quite risky to go out in these conditions. Tomorrow we will have to see what we can improve in the short Warm up time. Normally I prefer a dry race, but this time I think it would be better if we have a wet race as well.”