German MotoGP: Valentino Rossi confident of front row

Published: 17 July 2009

Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi is confident he can claim a crucial place on the front row of the grid from the German MotoGP after he ended opening practice in third place. Rossi is desperate to secure a front row slot with the tight and twisty Sachsenring circuit notoriously difficult to overtake on. The Italian logged a best time of 1.23.088 in a session run on a wet then dry track after an earlier powerful storm and he said: “I’m quite happy. I feel good with the bike and I’m riding well. This track always difficult for me and for Yamaha but I’m quite fast in the wet. This is important that we already have a wet base. Also in the dry I was strong after I made a modification for the last run. We know this is a track where it is difficult to overtake. I was behind (Niccolo) Canepa today and I was faster than him, but it was still very difficult to overtake. For me, overtaking here you have to make perfect from at least two corners before because maybe there is one point, maximum two to overtake. To start from the first row will be crucial for the race because f you start from fifth or sixth, the race will be very difficult. We have some things to improve, especially the feeling and general balance in the faster parts of the track, so we will concentrate on this tomorrow.” Rossi will start Sunday’s 30-lap race looking to build on a healthy nine-point lead in the championship over factory Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo. The Spaniard found the going tough in today’s mixed conditions, the 22-year-old languishing down in an uncharacteristic 11th place. The double world 250GP champion is still being hampered by the right shoulder and foot injuries he suffered during two spectacular qualifying crashes in Laguna Seca earlier this month. Lorenzo’s best time of 1.23.496 was only 0.717s off Casey Stoner’s pace but still not good enough for the top ten. He said: “I am not at 100 per cent and in fact my injuries don’t feel as good as I had hoped on the bike, which is disappointing. I have decided for the first time to use the leathers with the airbag and I want to say that I feel much more safe! This isn’t the best track for me, the slow corners don’t really suit my style and when I am not at full fitness it makes it more difficult, but today was okay considering the conditions. During the early part when it was wet I was reminding myself of the track, and then when it was dry later on I didn’t really have enough time to go fast because we had some things to check on the setting. But there are 12 riders all very close together, within seven tenths of a second and I am not worried because it was a strange day and not one for making conclusions.”