Gauloises Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi will start the seventh round of the MotoGP World Championship from the front of the grid as he chases his sixth victory of the season at the 75th anniversary Dutch TT tomorrow. Rossi took pole position with his final lap of this afternoon's qualifying session, clocking a time of 1'58.936 to hold off the challenge of Sete Gibernau and Marco Melandri (both Honda), who complete the front row.
Rossi's Gauloises Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards kept his promise to set a vastly improved lap time as he worked out his braking markers at the remodelled version of a circuit he knows well from his days in the World Superbike series. Cheered on by a vast army of travelling British fans, Edwards will start from the second row of the grid after taking 1.5 seconds off his best time from yesterday to take sixth place on the grid.
High temperatures and blazing sunshine continued today, with the thermometers reaching 36ºC during the afternoon session. However, the local weather forecast is predicting that the early summer heat wave will end abruptly tomorrow morning, with thunderstorms expected to continue all day.
VALENTINO ROSSI (Pole Position, 1'58.936, 23 laps)
"I am very happy because it is great to ride at this track on a qualifying tyre - the emotion is incredible. The bikes are so fast and this track also, even with the modifications it is still one of the best in the world. I was lucky because I was able to use both of my qualifying tyres at 100%. With the first one I set a 1'59.4, which was a great lap, but I looked at it and thought maybe I could go a little faster. I had to wait a while because there were a lot of riders waiting for me on the last lap and I left it until the last moment, because it's better to have no one in front of you here when you are trying to set a fast lap. The last lap of 1'58 was fantastic. I'm happy to start from pole position because tomorrow for sure will be a hard race. We'll wait to see what the weather does but if the temperatures are like today it will be very tough for the riders and the tyres."
COLIN EDWARDS (6th, 2'00.006, 22 laps)
"I knew yesterday that we had some good ideas to help us improve our time today and I think it's fair to say we've taken a giant leap forward with the set-up of the bike. This morning we fixed the rear traction problems I've been having and we're starting to understand the differences between Valentino's riding style and mine. Whilst it seems Valentino can ride pretty much anything, my style is ingrained in me and I need a little help to load up the rear, which is what we have done here. It is helping me get the power to the ground and today I set six or seven laps in the low 2'00s, which is a decent race pace. I still feel that it can come down a little further, and it will need to for tomorrow's race. I've really noticed the support from the British fans here, which has been great. Hopefully it will stay dry for them tomorrow although if it rains I'll be quite happy because I'm interested to see how this set-up works in the wet."
DAVIDE BRIVIO - TEAM DIRECTOR
"It is always a great emotion to watch Valentino ride in that way - his two fast laps were fantastic. Both our riders set a fast pace throughout the session and Colin was able to get a good position for the race, which I am very pleased about. I think the whole team can look forward very positively to tomorrow. The rain might be an issue but I'm sure our technicians will manage... and the riders too!"
Source: Yamaha Racing