2008-07-12 08:56
Valentino Rossi made significant strides with the set-up of his Fiat Yamaha M1 at the Sachsenring this afternoon, finding an improved race pace around the twisty German track. The Italian will need all the help he can get tomorrow however as he was only able to qualify seventh for the race, at the head of the third row.

After a problematical afternoon yesterday, the team's difficulties were compounded this morning when heavy rain left the track wet and rendered the majority of the first session useless. Luckily the afternoon was dry, if significantly cooler than yesterday, and Rossi and his team were able to find a good balance between their bike and their Bridgestone race tyres to set a string of consistent laps. He was disappointed after this not to qualify better and starting from the third row will complicate issues for him tomorrow as this track is notoriously tricky to pass at, although he defied this in 2006 when winning from 11th.

Jorge Lorenzo will start two places in front of his team-mate in fifth for tomorrow's 30-lap race, when Rossi will set a new record for consecutive Grand Prix starts with his 202nd successive appearance since his first race in 1996.

Position: 7th Time: 1'21.845 Laps: 31
"Today things didn't go how we hoped with the qualifying tyres! We had four as usual and, with the best one, unfortunately I found Jorge on the last corner. He was slowing down to enter the pits and he didn't see me, this was just unlucky because I think that lap could have been good enough for the second row. Then with my last tyre my lap looked like it would be good enough for the front row but I had some problems with grip on the last two corners and I lost about half a second, so finally we are on the third row! I know I have passed many riders before here but everyone is so close now that I know it will be very hard and so it's going to be very important that I get a good start. Luckily after the problems of yesterday and this morning we have found a good setting and a good Bridgestone tyre, and this afternoon we were as fast as Pedrosa so I think if I can manage not to lose too many places in the first few laps, then I can fight for the podium. This is my target for tomorrow."

Team Manager
"This afternoon we improved a lot and this qualifying position is disappointing because we had a much better potential and the latest modifications that the team and engineers made worked very well. It seems that we have the pace to race and therefore it's just a pity that we are on the third row; we just couldn't put everything together on the same lap today. We will continue in the morning to make some final adjustments and then hopefully Valentino can get a good start and try to fight his way forward and stay with the leaders."

Qualifying Times
1. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro 1'21.067
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda 1'21.420
3. Colin Edwards (USA) Tech 3 Yamaha 1'21.519
4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) JiR Team Scot MotoGP 1'21.656
5. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1'21.795
6. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 1'21.821
7. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1'21.845
8. Nicky Hayden (USA) Repsol Honda

Source: Fiat Yamaha Team

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