Still work to do for Barbera at Le Mans
Unusually warm conditions led to a typically hot qualifying session at Le Mans this afternoon as Valentino Rossi shaved almost a second off his pole record from 2008 to hold off a strong challenge from three rivals for top spot on the grid. Spanish pair Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, as well as the Australian Casey Stoner took the fight to the Italian at the head of a 16-strong field of MotoGP riders, with Álvaro Bautista forced to retire from the event after a crash-strewn free practice this morning.
Páginas Amarillas Aspar rider Héctor Barberácontinued to find the ideal engine mapping setting for his Ducati as he looks to improve power delivery and also struggled for stability in the corners today. Despite taking seven tenths of a second off his best effort from yesterday the Spaniard could qualify no higher than fifteenth on the grid for his first MotoGP appearance at Le Mans.
15th Héctor Barberá 1.35.323 (30 laps): “We made a few changes to my Ducati today and it is working much better. We have got the power delivery working more how we hoped and I can open the throttle when I want. We have also been working to improve the handling of the bike in mid-corner, just to try and get more comfortable. I tried to follow a couple of riders at the end to improve my lap time but I was losing too much to them. It is annoying because I know I can go faster and I don’t like being near the back. We’re satisfied with the set-up we have now and we won’t change anything for tomorrow – I’ll just ‘throw all the meat on the grill’ and do my best to stay with the group. The good thing is the bike is working well, it is just a case of improving my riding now.”