2009-10-16 17:10
Valentino Rossi will start his Phillip Island assault from second on the grid tomorrow, after sealing his twelfth front-row start of the season in Australia this afternoon. His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who was still feeling under the weather following yesterday's upset stomach, missed out on the front row by just 0.001 seconds, the first time he has been out of the top three this season.

This morning's practice was interrupted by rain, which allowed the riders a quick chance to check their wet-weather settings in case of more rain tomorrow. By the afternoon the weather had cleared up and qualifying was run in the dry, albeit with grey skies and a cold wind. Rossi spent most of the hour-long session a few tenths off Casey Stoner in second but a late setting update gave him the extra pace to challenge the Australian and he duly moved to the top of the time sheets with nine minutes to go. Stoner hit back five minutes later however and set a best time that knocked Rossi off pole by 0.050 seconds.

Lorenzo felt much better today but he was still not at 100%, having been unable to eat much since yesterday's illness. The 22-year-old was still struggling for rear grip but he was able to improve his time in the later stages and looked like he would make it onto the front row before a late charge from Dani Pedrosa edged him off by just one thousandth of a second. He will now have to mount his challenge from the head of the second row tomorrow, something of a novelty for him having qualified in the first three at all fourteen previous rounds this year.

Tomorrow's race will start at 1600 local-time tomorrow, which is 0700 CET.

Source: Fiat Yamaha Team

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