Valentino Rossi was another rider to blame chatter for his relative lack of performance after he could only qualify eleventh at Sepang. The Ducati rider picked up the problem on the soft tyres towards the end of qualifying and is still undecided on whether to go with that option in the race.
“We were going pretty well at a certain point this afternoon, as I was able to do some laps with the hard tyre at a low-2:02 pace. We were pretty optimistic for the end, but when we put on the soft, it triggered a lot of chatter and I wasn’t able to improve enough to be further up the grid. Anyway, we’re not too far from Hayden, Barbera, Bautista and Bradl, so we’ll see. The warm-up will be very important for choosing the tyres. With the soft, it will certainly be necessary to slow down a lot in the second part of the race because today, it was already sliding a lot after just three or four laps. With the hard tyre, in theory we should suffer more at the beginning and then… we don’t know yet. Tomorrow we’ll try to understand. Finally, there’s the rain variable, which could shake everything up. We’ll see what time it comes.”
Nicky Hayden fared slightly better, qualifying ninth, but the American didn’t enjoy an easy day either as the same problem that struck his teammate affected him.
“It hasn’t been an easy day. In qualifying I lost some time due to a couple of issues I was having with the clutch and rear brake. Then we made a few little changes and got going better, but I had so much chatter that both of my hands are still tingling. I think a lot of guys are dealing with it, but it’s really making it difficult for me in the fast corners. I was able to do an okay lap, but the pace is really fast. I made one little mistake on what turned out to be my best lap, and that probably cost me two or three tenths. We’ve got a couple decisions to make for tomorrow, and we’ll see what we can do.”