Valencia MotoGP: Qualifying Rider Quotes

MotoGP Racer Quotes

For most of the 45-minute qualifying session Saturday for the Valencia MotoGP, this year’s champ Jorge Lorenzo was the fastest man. But with six minutes to go, Casey Stoner piloted his Ducati Team GP10 to 1:31.799, the only rider to break the 1:32 barrier so far this weekend.

Lorenzo went on to place his Fiat Yamaha M1 in second for Sunday’s race. The final spot on the front row was taken by San Carlo Gresini Honda rider Marco Simoncelli; it was the best starting position for the Italian in the premier MotoGP class.

Here’s what the MotoGP riders were saying after Saturday’s qualifying session for the Valencia Grand Prix.

Casey Stoner (Ducati Team GP10) says: “This morning we were struggling a little bit with the front because you have to spend a lot of time at this circuit with the bike leaned over so this afternoon we tried a lot of different things without really finding the right feeling. When I went out on a soft tire I didn’t think I’d be able to beat Jorge (Lorenzo) or Marco (Simoncelli) but it gave me the confidence I needed to go much faster and I set a lap time I was very happy with.”

“I actually made a couple of mistakes on my last two laps otherwise I think I could have improved it but the important thing is that I was able to give Ducati another pole position before I sign off. There are a couple of sections where we need to improve for tomorrow but other sections that remind me of Phillip Island in the way I can attack them so overall I am comfortable and confident. It will be an emotional day I’m sure tomorrow but for now my job is to focus on the race and achieving the best result possible.”

Nicky Hayden
(Ducati Team GP10) says: “The middle of the second row isn’t a disaster. The track seemed to really come in this afternoon and immediately on hard tires we were a lot faster than we’ve been all weekend. We made a couple of little changes this afternoon and straight away I made up the couple of tenths I’ve been lacking so far. When we put the first soft tire in I got straight into the 1’32s and with the second one in the first split I had a moment with the front and that’s not the way you want to start your first flying lap.”

“It cost me a little confidence and maybe a place on the front row because even though I managed a 1’32.4 I wasn’t able to find those last couple of tenths. Each tenth makes a big difference around here so we have to claw for every one we can get. Tomorrow ain’t going to be cake, I know that, but I want to finish the year with a strong result and I’m looking forward to it.”

Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha M1) says: “I’m really excited and proud to be on the front row in front of the Spanish crowd, at this home race. Especially racing here; the last race is always special and everyone wants to do well.”

“I tried my best to make the pole position today but Casey was really very quick today, I couldn’t beat him. Let’s see if we can keep in contact with him tomorrow in the race, if we can stay with him we can challenge. We will try the maximum as always. X-Lite has honored me with this special helmet and I am so proud of it, it looks like diamonds in the sunshine! Thanks to everyone and I hope to make a good race in it tomorrow.”

Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha M1) says: “It was a difficult day but luckily we were able to improve the setting right at the end of the session, giving me a bit more grip and allowing me to push for a fast time at the end. We’re fourth and considering how the practices have been this really isn’t too bad.”

“We will have to see tomorrow, it’s going to be very hard and we’re still in a bit of trouble, while the others are very fast, but if we can improve a bit more then we can try to challenge. It’s not particularly difficult to overtake at this race so the second row isn’t a big problem if we have a good pace. Stoner is very fast here, it looked like he was in a different sport today, but it’s my last race for Yamaha and I will do everything I can to be on the podium.”

Ben Spies
(Monster Tech 3 Yamaha M1) says: “I’m not super happy because I’d like the bike to be working better but to be close to the fight for the podium is pretty good. This track doesn’t have a lot of rear grip and I’ve had some stability problems. I need the rear to be more stable for the race and I think we can achieve that.”

“Yamaha and my Tech 3 guys will get together tonight and come up with some ideas and I know they’ll give me a good bike tomorrow. The ankle isn’t fantastic but I don’t think it’s losing me time. I’m not 100 percent but I can’t say I’m losing half-a-second because of it. I can’t move around on the bike as much as I’d like but the race is only 45 minutes and I’ll get through it.”

“I definitely want to move up in the championship and claim that sixth spot but I’m going out to treat it like another race and try to beat Nicky. There’s a bit of pride at stake but I’d want to beat anybody for the top six, so it makes no difference that the fight is with Nicky.”

Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3 M1) says: “I’ve felt good all weekend with this new setting and I want to thank my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 because as always they’ve done an awesome job. The changes we have made have really helped my confidence with the rear of the bike. I can turn much better, I don’t run wide and the new setting seems to give me better rear grip but is also good for tire life too.”

“I was comfortable on the hard tire bu t I hadn’t used the soft tire since yesterday morning, so I didn’t really know the potential of it. On the first tire I was almost a second quicker, put the second tire in and it didn’t give the same confidence for some reason. On the last one I felt better and I’m happy with the lap time but it is so tight at the top that just a couple of tenths costs you a lot of places.”

“Seventh is not where I want to be but everybody is going fast. I think anybody from third to ninth will be thinking they can get on the podium and I’m one of them. We’ve seen though on this track that the field can spread out pretty quick and if it does I hope to be at the sharp end.”

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) says: “I would like to be a bit higher in the standings but considering my physical condition eighth is not so bad. This is a short track and the lap times are very close, and so two tenths means two or three positions higher or lower on the grid. This is the position we have achieved and we will deal with it. This morning we did a good job with the set-up of the bike and this afternoon we didn’t touch much in the session – improving by a couple of tenths.”

“Anyway we need to be ready for a very tough race, and it’s the endurance over race distance that will be the key point – 30 laps is a lot. Now I will try to rest as much as possible, and tomorrow I will aim to make a great start and keep the rhythm in the race for as long as I can.”

Andrea Dovizioso
(Repsol Honda RC212V) says: “Yesterday we started well and we have improved our pace in every practice session, but this afternoon I haven’t managed to use the full potential of the bike. I’m struggling in sector three and sector four and this is affecting my lap time. More than the set-up I need to better interpret the lines I’m taking, and also to adapt my riding style.”

“In particular I’m quite slow in two or three corners and this is what is holding me back at the moment. Our overall pace in the rest of the lap is not too far from the riders at the front, so if we improve in these corners I’m sure we can fight for the podium tomorrow. Concerning the tyre choice, if the conditions remain as today I think we will use the hard compound.”

Randy de Puniet
(LCR Honda) says: “This morning went quite well and in the first part of the qualifying session we confirmed the race tires for tomorrow. But once I came out on soft tyres to post a good flying lap for the grid I could not get the same potential and the rear started to move a lot. The bike was not stable on throttle and I could not really improve my lap time.”

“We have good base on race trim which make me confident for the race but I must take a good start like in Estoril. I really want to end this season and my last year with LCR in the best way tomorrow.”

Marco Simoncelli
(San Carlo Gresini Honda) says: “It has been a wonderful weekend so far, from the first session yesterday morning through to qualifying this afternoon. I was able to ride fast and consistent and I am delighted we were able to turn it into a front row start. I have unbelievable confidence with the bike just at the moment and that has been coming over the past few rounds. Right now I just hope I can stay in the same postcode as the leader tomorrow because it would be a really great end to the season for myself, Honda and the team.”

Marco Melandri (San Carlo Gresini Honda) says: “It has been another negative day for us. I can’t get the bike stopped or turned. The electronics don’t do the job they should and it is always difficult when I open the gas. It doesn’t even work correctly on the straights – opening and closing the throttle when it wants – and for me it is really hard to control the wheelies. I am very disappointed because I would have wanted to finish the season in a very different way.”

Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki GSVR) says: “What can I say about today? I am obviously upset that this is the last qualifying of the year and it was a very difficult one. We improved a lot from this morning, but we stayed in the same position. The weather today was a bit better and this helped the bike, but it was still tough.”

“Tomorrow will be a hard race and that is easy to see because I am 14th and Álvaro is last, we are close, but this is the reality of the situation. The forecast for tomorrow is to be colder and cloudy, so this might put us in the same position that we experience when the temperature drops.”

Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki GSV-R) says: “It has turned into a difficult weekend so far and I feel like I am struggling with the bike. I’m having the most problems with the exit from the corner, but we have improved the GSV-R since yesterday as we have tried to get more grip and less movement form the bike.”

“This afternoon it was still difficult and at the end of qualifying I was only really concentrating on the exit of the corners, more than I was on making a fast entry, so this made it very hard to be competitive. I’ve improved on my best time here, but it is still not enough. In warm-up we are going to try a new setting to help me with the rear of the bike and see what happens.”

“We must work very hard and if tomorrow morning we find something better we will certainly use it in the race. It is going to be hard, because we will start form the last position – the only good thing about that is that I can only finish better than I start!”

Aleix Espargaro
(Pilota Pramac Racing Team Ducati) says: “We had work this morning on the tyres condition, trying soft tires. We have also found some very good technical solutions. But this afternoon higher temperature, have not allowed us to use them in the right way.”

“Any way the gap I have from the first riders is not that huge, the ninth position is gust two tenths of a second from my best lap time. It will be very important to start the race in the best way so that I can take advantage since the first curve and conquer some position.”

Carlos Checa
(Pilota Pramac Racing Team Ducati) says: “I’m very happy on how the thinks where going and for improving the feeling with my bike. Of course the position that I have conquer is not the best, but if we just look after the numbers I can say that I have reduced my gap from the first by almost one second, compare to the gap I was having Friday morning.”

“This give me an enormous feeling and great moral for tomorrow’s race in which I’ll try to conquer a good position and repay the Pramac Racing Team for this two fantastic weekends.”

Hiroshi Aoyama
(Interwetten Honda) says: “I already had a good feeling with the bike at the beginning of the qualifying. We could have been much better than we did, as my lap time this morning was better. But at the end I could improve it, but unfortunately lost two places on the grid. The lap times are so close here that I still can do a good result in the race.”

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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).