Casey Stoner admitted he wasn't expecting to have the pace to challenge for pole position at Estoril today. The world champion topped qualifying for the first time this season although he didn't feel as comfortable with the Honda RC213V as he had in morning practice.
“In general it’s been a good day for us and I’m really happy to get pole. FP3 was positive and we made progress on the bike, we had the bike turning well with good front feeling. Unfortunately in qualifying we tried to improve it further but managed to lose the good points! We did find a little better feeling in the rear but we couldn’t get the bike to turn and do what we wanted it to. We didn’t really feel we had the pace to be on pole today, but after the red flag came out with 10 minutes remaining we were able to get out there and put together a good enough lap to take pole. We’ve been pretty fast in every session and our race pace gives us confidence but we’ll have to have a think about which set up direction we go for in warm up and hope this is the best for the race. I was sorry to see Colin has broken his collar bone again and I send him by best wishes”
Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa will start alongside in second but the Spaniard was annoyed with traffic which he feels cost him a shot at pole position.
“I think we did a good job in qualifying and to be on the front row here after all the issues we had is a great thing. I couldn’t put too many good laps together because I had some problems on the bike, first with the brakes, then with the electronics and by the end I was feeling good but we had to stop again due to the red flag. I honestly think that in the last minutes of the session I could have taken the pole but there was a lot of traffic and I missed it by just 0.013. The race will be very tough tomorrow because the track conditions are poor, the grip is low and it makes the tyres spin a lot. We will try to set up our bike a little better for tomorrow to do our best in the race”.