Valentino Rossi was disappointed to finish down in ninth after wet conditions for qualifying were expected to play into his hands. The Ducati GP12 has been competitive whenever circuit conditions have been wet but Rossi was never in the fight for pole, although he is certain he'll be stronger if the rain continues into race day.
“We were expecting more from a rainy session because normally we're really quite fast in the wet, but unfortunately we made a small mistake on the setup with the back end of the bike. With so much water on the track, this made it somewhat difficult in T2 and T3. Unfortunately, losing some tenths in that area put me on the third row, despite being fast in the first and last sectors. On the plus side, the data make it clear where we made the mistake, and if there's a wet race, fixing those details should make us more competitive. If the race should be dry, I hope that the warm-up will be as well, because over the entire weekend we've only had 45 minutes of dry time.”
In contrast, teammate Nicky Hayden was a contender for pole but had to settle for seventh as the times tumbled at the end of the session. The American was frustrated to get such scant reward for his efforts but has promised to give his all in the race.
“It was damp this morning, and in order to save some rain tyres, we didn't do a lot of laps, although the bike felt really good. Then at the start of qualifying, the track was really wet, with standing water and streams running across. It was difficult, and at one point we decided to come in and wait. We're struggling for edge grip in the long corners, although traction seems really good when the bike is picked up. Things felt much better toward the end, and I was on pole with about five minutes to go, only to get held up on the last two laps. I know traffic is a common excuse, but it was real today, and I certainly would have been up a couple more spots on the grid. I'm really frustrated to be starting on the third row, but we'll give it our best in the race tomorrow.”