Saturday, May 13, 2006
Dani Pedrosa is not given to overstatement. “This is the first time I go fast on qualifying tires,” he said in his normal deadpan manner shortly after accepting the watch that is the reward for pole position here in China. That’s undoubtedly true but doesn’t tell the whole story of a thrilling qualifying session interrupted by rain that ended in a frenzy of fast laps from just about everybody except Valentino Rossi.
The Doc was again afflicted with chatter as serious as in Jerez. It didn’t stop his team mate Colin Edwards from getting on the front row for the first time the since the French GP almost a year ago. Even on a TV screen you could see his M1’s front wheel vibrating so much it was blurred.
Entertainingly, senior Yamaha people were assuring TV audiences that their chatter had gone away even as Colin vibrated across their screens.
Another welcome returnee to the front row is John Hopkins who was trying so hard he got his elbow down in the 300-degree first corner on his fast lap. There doesn’t appear to be a tire advantage here in Shanghai, Michelin and Bridgestone runners are equally distributed through the grid. The lack of dry time, just like last year, means a lot of crews will be guessing at settings and tires after Sunday morning warm-up.
Nicky Hayden’s advice for viewers is “Get your popcorn ready at home.”