CASEY STONER (1st – 1’29″623 / Repsol Honda): “It’s been a good progression over these past few races and it’s great to get pole for my home grand prix. The bike has been good since Friday and I’m feeling comfortable on it again. It wasn’t an easy session this afternoon, we went out on a hard tyre and on my out lap, as I was peeling into the Honda turn, the bike decided to flip me. I tried to make sure I kept my leg out of the way as I came off, fortunately it didn’t get caught up. My left hip is hurting a little as I landed on it but hopefully we shouldn’t have any issues with it tomorrow. The bike feels pretty good for race pace, we would have liked to have done some more work in this afternoon’s session but we lost time after the crash. A big thanks to all the fans for coming out and putting up with this weather, hopefully we can turn this pole into a win tomorrow!”
JORGE LORENZO (2nd – 1’30″140 / Yamaha Factory Racing): “Casey is really on another planet here, he’s riding so comfortably, sliding a lot and full throttle always so it’s very difficult to be with him. We are closer now though; in qualifying I made a really good lap with the soft tyre. Second place is a good position to be in for tomorrow, it’s important to be just behind Casey into the first corner and to follow his wheel for at least two laps as fast as we can be. A big thank you to the team who worked hard to improve the bike for me for today”.
DANI PEDROSA (3rd – 1’30″575 / Repsol Honda): “I was trying some different things on the bike to get a little more comfortable, but they didn’t work out very well for the middle of the session. On my first soft rear tyre I couldn’t improve and then on my last run I was going quicker on the first lap and rain arrived. Anyway to be on the front row again is very good and I think we found a good bike setting for tomorrow’s race. Casey is unreachable, he’s on another level and doing an amazing job this weekend, but my pace is quite similar to Jorge’s, so I hope to be at least constant for the fight with him”.
CAL CRUTCHLOW (4th – 1’30″763 / Monster Yamaha Tech 3): “We made some good improvements to the bike today and fortunately I am feeling better too. I’m still not 100% but I have been resting as much as possible and I am improving each day. It was good to have the bike feeling better today as well, although I wasn’t pushing too hard for the whole session. I used an old soft rear tyre that I’d run in this morning’s practice just to check my pace at the start of the session. I’m really happy because my times were fast and consistent even when the rear tyre had over 30 laps on it. That bodes well for the race tomorrow and I’m confident if I can run the same pace I’ll be in the podium hunt. On a new soft tyre I think I could have gone a bit faster but I got held up. Fourth is still a good result and I’m looking forward to a good battle in tomorrow’s race, though based on what we’ve seen so far, Casey is on another planet and nobody will get close to him”.
STEFAN BRADL (5th – 1’30″798 / LCR Honda): “We are very happy today because we did not expect fifth place in qualifying after yesterday’s issues with the bike set up. I was struggling too much with bike confidence but we made some chassis adjustments finding a good solution for the afternoon session. After that I was finally back into my standard form lapping with more confidence and more average speed. Let’s see what is going on tomorrow but we are more prepared right now considering the particular layout of this track”.
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO (6th – 1’31″200 / Monster Yamaha Tech 3): “The session started very well and I was quickly into a fast pace that put me inside the top three. My race pace is around the mid-31s and that should be competitive enough to be battling for a podium tomorrow. The problem came when I tried to improve my time on a new soft rear tyre. Immediately it was sliding around a lot and it didn’t have the grip I was expecting. I just didn’t have a good feeling and it was impossible to push like I wanted. We need to analyse what might have caused that, so considering I couldn’t go any faster on a new soft rear tyre at the end of the session, I’m pretty pleased to still be in the top six. We have improved the bike in every session and I am confident I will be battling for the podium”.
ÁLVARO BAUTISTA (7th – 1’31″490 / San Carlo Honda Gresini): “We continued to work on the setting of the bike this morning without making major improvements from yesterday. In the afternoon we did some laps on used tyres and the pace was decent. On new tyres we were able to go a little faster and we were hoping to make at least a position up on the last outing and get on the second row but it started to rain and I had to settle for seventh place. Anyway I am confident because my race pace is good and apart from Stoner, who is on another planet, and maybe Lorenzo and Pedrosa who are also very fast we can match the others and fight for fourth or fifth place again. The start will be important then after that we’ll see!”
VALENTINO ROSSI (8th – 1’31″661 / Ducati Team): “Qualifying went okay, as my pace is more or less at the level of Bradl and Bautista, with the two Yamahas of Dovizioso and Crutchlow a little faster, but only by some tenths. I’m pretty consistent. I did a 1:31.7, a decent time, with a tyre that had about eighteen laps on it, so that’s not bad as we approach the race. We have a little too much vibration and understeer with the soft tyre, so I wasn’t able to improve much with it, although fortunately, it was just enough to make the third row. Tomorrow morning we’ll try to refine the final details and then we’ll see. It will be a long race, so we’ll have to see what conditions we find and what pace we’re able to do”.
RANDY DE PUNIET (9th – 1’31″667 / Power Electronics Aspar Team): “I am really happy with the way things are going this weekend. We have been fast from the start and my feeling with the bike is great here. I am really enjoying myself and I hope this continues tomorrow through to the end of the race. We start from the third row, which is a great achievement for a CRT bike, having been seventh fastest this morning. I think we could have gone even faster in qualifying this afternoon but the conditions changed at the end of the session. Anyway I feel comfortable and confident. The objective is to hang on to the prototypes in the race and see what happens. I need to pull as many points back as possible on my team-mate but it will be tough because he is looking strong here too. Today was a great day; hopefully tomorrow is another one”.
NICKY HAYDEN (10th – 1’31″681 / Ducati Team): “Unfortunately, things haven’t gone much better today, as we’re still having trouble finding the right direction. I’m breaking traction on the edge of the tyre, and that causes a lot of movement, especially in the fast corners. Also, the bumps are making it difficult to stay online. I made a mistake in T1 on my last good lap. Then I had a better lap going at the end when the rain came, at which point it was too much to risk. Tomorrow is when it counts, and we’ll probably make a big change to the bike. Starting tenth is difficult, but I really hope I can be competitive”.
KAREL ABRAHAM (11th – 1’31″910 / Cardion AB Motoracing): “It´s pity that it started rain in the end of session, when I was riding in strong group and can improve my lap time. The most positive is that I was able to make more laps similar to the best one. Also the bike is prepared well, we still have some problems with grip on rear tyre and our mechanicians must decide, if it´s necessary to make another setup changes”.
ALEIX ESPARGARÓ (12th – 1’31″990 / Power Electronics Aspar Team): “I am pleased with our performance today because we have improved a lot from yesterday. We were a long way off in the first couple of sessions in terms of lap times and feeling but the situation has been turned around by a lot of hard work. The bike feels how I want it to feel now and that is important, as is the fact that we set a consistent pace riding alone and using my own reference points. We didn’t set a single lap as good as my team-mate but our main weapon tomorrow is our consistency. We have worked with the gearbox, the engine and the chassis here and pretty much everything we tried was positive”.
MICHELE PIRRO (14th – 1’33″050 / San Carlo Honda Gresini): “I think being the third fastest CRT bike today behind the two ARTs was about the best we could hope for today although I am not totally happy because I was hoping to break into the 1’ 32s and even though we were close we didn’t manage it. We still have some movement on the rear that we need to fix because it is slowing me down in corner exit. Anyway, I am confident that in the warm-up the guys will find some solutions and then I am sure in the race the tyres will play a huge role. I’m ready to defend my positions as the third highest CRT in the championship”.
ROBERTO ROLFO (18th – 1’33″577 / Speed Master): “The position with which we ended the qualifying practice isn’t the one we were hoping for, we were aiming at a better result. On the other hand, I’m happy for the improvement we had: the changes to the front part of the bike helped me and in the session we went well, generally speaking, for a few laps we focused on the pace and the result was good. On my fast lap I made a mistake in the second part of the track and we lost some time in the sixth turn. I was hoping for a time close to low 1’33, to get near the fifteenth position. Despite the placement on the grid, we have a good rhythm and we just have to sort some data for the used tyre, in particular for the turns. We put together a logical and positive work, and maybe the rain at the end of the practice cut us off from one last chance. We’ll see how the warm up goes tomorrow and in the race we’ll try and stay with the other CRT machines”.
Sincerely, Eduard Ballús