China MotoGP: Valentino Rossi upbeat about victory hopes

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Valentino Rossi is confident he can end his long-running victory drought in Shanghai tomorrow after he claimed his second successive front row start in today’s qualifying session.

The Fiat Yamaha rider claimed his best Bridgestone qualifying result to date when he ended qualifying second behind former factory Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards.

Rossi’s best of 1:58.494 was 0.355secs slower than the impressive Edwards, who became the fastest rider ever to lap the 5.281km circuit today.

The Italian though is confident he can mount a genuine victory bid in tomorrow’s 22-lap encounter as he looks to end a barren run stretching back to the Estoril MotoGP last year.

The 29-year-old said: “I’m very happy about the practice because we work well. It’s the best practice since the beginning of the year.

“Also in Jerez and Portugal we were quite fast, but this is the first time we are fast also with a used tyre, so my rhythm is quite good.

“I’m able to make some good 59s and the race tyres work well and also the setting is good. So I’m quite confident for tomorrow. And also I’m happy about today because is my best qualify with Bridgestone.

“I thought I might get pole position at one moment, because after the first qualifier I did a 58.5 and I was in front. I tried with the next qualifier but I was able to improve just a bit and to beat Colin (Edwards) anyway with a 58.1 for me is very difficult.”

With heavy rain forecast for tomorrow’s 22-lap race, Rossi said he was confident he would be equally competitive in wet conditions as in the dry.

“Unfortunately we don’t have enough power to decide the weather for tomorrow. It is a pity because we work well and we wait for dry conditions.

“If it will be wet, anyway the situation for us is not bad. In Portugal I was quite fast with the Bridgestone. I feel confident anyway, but I prefer dry,” said Rossi.

Confident about his prospects in the dry, he said: “Everybody is so, so close and this track is long, so it is possible the lap times stay very close. The start will be important and the first laps also to try and stay in front.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt