2008-10-25 08:40
Jorge Lorenzo endured a difficult qualifying session in Valencia today and will launch the final challenge of his rookie season from seventh on the grid. His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi meanwhile had an equally troublesome day and will start from tenth, directly behind Lorenzo.

This morning's session was run in damp conditions that gave way to a light rain shower at one point, and with temperatures very low Lorenzo and his crew were unable to find a good balance between bike and tyres and finished in 14th. They were confident of improvements this afternoon in the dry but it was not to be and the first part of the session saw the young Spaniard lapping four seconds off the leaders. He made some headway as time went on but is still lacking grip and confidence in the corners, a problem the team will be looking to address in tomorrow's warm-up. Lorenzo, whose target for tomorrow is to secure the title of leading rookie, was nonetheless able to make a slight improvement with qualifying tyres and will start from the head of the third row when the lights go out for the 30-lap season finale.

Position: 7th Time: 1'32.594 Laps: 26
"We don't really know what happened here today. At the start of the practice I was four seconds slower than the top riders and this is really too much! I couldn't ride how I wanted and it is quite frustrating here, because I really want to finish with a good race. Anyway now we need to look at the data and work out what is going on, I have confidence in my team that we will find a way. We also need to work on the tyres with Michelin because at the moment I don't have the grip or confidence that I need and we haven't really had enough dry time to find the right balance. It will be hard tomorrow but I will try to start fast and pass some riders and then see what I can do."

Team Manager
"This was a very difficult session for us and we didn't expect to have so many problems here, at a circuit at which we have already tested at the end of 2007. We are struggling to find rear grip and because of this Jorge doesn't have enough confidence on the entry to the corner. Now we need to analyse the data carefully in order to help us understand the problem and then we will have to use the warm-up as well as possible. Hopefully we will find a setting which will allow us to have the race that Jorge and the team deserve tomorrow."

Qualifying Times
1. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro 1'31.502
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda 1'31.555
3. Nicky Hayden (USA) Repsol Honda 1'31.703
4. Colin Edwards (USA) Tech 3 Yamaha 1'32.212
5. James Toseland (GBR) Tech 3 Yamaha 1'32.518
6. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 1'32.572
7. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1'32.594
8. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP

Source: Fiat Yamaha Team

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