Valentino Rossi took a historic pole position today for the inaugural MotoGP race at Indianapolis today; tomorrow will see him become the first rider in 99 years to head a motorcycle race at the famous 'Brickyard'. The Fiat Yamaha rider hung onto the front grid spot by just 0.084 seconds ahead of Casey Stoner to take his second pole of the season, with team-mate Jorge Lorenzo rounding out the front row for the second race running.
After the torrential downpours of yesterday, the rain abated today and this morning's practice was run on a drying track. Rossi was quick to find an effective dry set-up and was second fastest, finding the agile nature of his M1 well suited to the demands of the 4.218 km track. Qualifying this afternoon was run in bright sunshine and Rossi had an enjoyable hour, fine-tuning his setting before putting in several fast laps with a Bridgestone qualifying tyre, his final one good enough to hold off Stoner and Lorenzo's last-minute challenges.
The riders' now have one wet and one dry day of set-up under their belts at this new track but, with rain forecast tomorrow, it seems that the wet one could be the one they need. Tomorrow's 28-lap race is scheduled to get underway at 1500 local time (GMT -4).
Valentino Rossi - Position: 1Time: 1'40.776Laps: 26, 'I'm very happy to get the chance to ride on this circuit in the dry, it's a great track and I had a lot of fun today. It's technical and difficult, which I like, and it seems to suit our bike and tyres well. There are places to pass, especially turn one and turn ten, and the grip of the new asphalt is much better in the dry. If it's like this tomorrow, then we can have a great race! Unfortunately this seems unlikely so we will have to wait and see what the situation is tomorrow at race time. If it's 'normal' rain then we will be okay, if it's like yesterday then we have to take a decision all together about racing. I am really happy with the work we did today, we found a great setting for the qualifying tyres this afternoon and I made some good laps, especially the last two. I knew I could try for 1'40 and I was able to do 40.7. Whatever the weather tomorrow, this pole position will be very important.'
Davide Brivio - Team Manager, 'Valentino did a great lap on his last qualifying tyre and it's fantastic to be on pole position for the first MotoGP race here. We're really happy! Now we have to wait and see for tomorrow, we're all hoping for weather like this but there is a big question mark. We did a great job to find a good setting today so we know that we're in good shape in the dry, but we were also fast yesterday afternoon so I think that we can be competitive in both types of conditions. Thanks to all the team for a great job today, this is an important pole position.'