Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow to start StyrianGP from 17th and 23rd respectively
After yesterday’s mixed weather conditions, PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team’s MotoGP riders were able to enjoy a day of dry running around the Spielberg circuit. Valentino Rossi will start the StyrianGP from 17th on the grid, while Cal Crutchlow will line up 23rd.
Rossi was quick to improve upon his FP1 time at the outset of today’s FP3, continuing to better his time throughout the session. At the end of the 45 minutes his best time of 1min 24.381secs placed him inside the Q1 places – 19th. After racking up more laps in the dry conditions of FP4, Valentino continued to consistently reduce his lap time around the Spielberg circuit in Q2. The Italian ended the session seventh with a 1min 24.097secs lap, which translates to seventeenth place on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
In FP3 Crutchlow also immediately improved upon his time from yesterday morning and continued to set personal best laps throughout the session. The Brit was back out in Q1 after setting the 23rd fastest FP3 time – 1min 24.644secs. After setting a series of consistent laps and gaining valuable data in FP4, Cal set a time of 1min 24.513secs in his first qualifying session aboard the PETRONAS Yamaha SRT machine. This saw him end Q1 13th and he will start tomorrow’s race from 23rd.
Rossi and Crutchlow will be back out on track at 9.40am local time (3.40pm MYT) tomorrow for Warm Up, before the StyrianGP concludes with the 28-lap MotoGP race at 2pm local time (8pm MYT).
This morning was difficult because I didn’t have a good feeling with the balance of the bike, but the afternoon was better as we were able to improve both the setting and our pace. I will start the race from 17th but there is a group of riders that have a very similar pace to us, so my target will be to stay with them and try to secure some points – but this is if we have dry conditions. The forecast for tomorrow is bad and it looks like we will have a wet race. If that happens we hope it will be a normal wet race, because I don’t think our pace in those conditions is too bad. At the moment a top-ten finish would be difficult, but we will see what happens tomorrow.
We knew it was going to be difficult and I did have a little bit of arm pump, but that’s normal for me. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised with today and I’m feeling okay. I did have some difficulties in qualifying where I was ruining the corners with my riding style, but I was good in FP4. It just shows that with time on the bike I can improve. We’re going to have a look at some things tonight and see what we can do. The whole team have been doing a good job and it’s nice to work with some familiar faces: Wilco [Zeelenberg], Johan [Stigefelt] and three of the mechanics. I think tomorrow will be difficult with the weather but I’ll just aim to get into a good rhythm and enjoy the race.