Sunday, October 17

ROSSI ON THIRD ROW


Valentino Rossi came in for some bad luck in the final stages of the session and could only manage to qualify eighth. After Friday's downpours Saturday was largely sunny, but strong winds and biting cold made it another testing day on track for the riders.

Rossi has been searching for a comfortable set-up all weekend and he made some improvements ton Saturday but was still lacking race pace in comparison to his rivals. He was hopeful of making a challenge for the front row but luck was not on his side today as all three of his planned qualifying laps, when he was using the softer Bridgestone tyres, were interrupted.

He was hampered first by another rider, then a crashed bike on track and then the weather, as it started to spit with rain with three minutes of the qualifying session to go.

The Italian will start from eighth on the grid, in the middle of the third row.

"I was really unlucky today because with each of the softer tyres, when I think I could have improved a bit, I had problems. First it was Espargaro, then Hayden's bike on the track and then it began to rain, so I couldn't use any of the tyres how I wanted in the end. We start from the third row, which will be very hard, especially because our race pace isn't that strong and we don't have the right set-up yet.

"We need to work hard to try to improve. The conditions aren't good and it's a great pity because this is a fantastic track but you can't enjoy it in this cold, because it takes so long for the tyres to get to the right temperature. Tomorrow will be hard, but we will see what we can do," he said on Saturday afternoon.

Rossi has finished on the podium 12 times in his 13 visits to Phillip Island across all three GP classes.

The only race at Phillip Island he did not finish in the top three was on his first visit, riding a 125cc Aprilia in 1997, when he finished sixth. In 1998 and 1999 he won the 250cc races and since then has had ten podiums in the premier-class including
five victories, the last of which was in 2005.

He has finished second to Casey Stoner for the last two years in Australia.

Phillip Island is one of just four current circuits where Rossi has never started
from pole riding a Yamaha – the others are Laguna Seca, Silverstone and Aragon.