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Tamada halted by traffic on second day

Tamada halted by traffic on second day

Tamada halted by traffic on second day

Makoto Tamada had a clear explanation for his failure to improve on his provisional pole time after an intense final qualifying session at Sepang on Saturday. The Japanese rider is hoping for a return to form after a disappointing weekend in Qatar and has been encouraged by the performance of his Bridgestone race tyres at the Malaysian circuit.

"Traffic, a lot of traffic," explained Tamada. "When I went out for my fast lap to confirm the provisional pole I came up behind two slow riders and I lost the chance. We can now choose harder tyres and still be competitive on endurance and I'm satisfied with this and with the data we have collected from them.

"Rossi has picked up his rhythm from the off this morning, but now we just need to see if he and the others are capable of keeping it up throughout the race. In tomorrow's warm-up I will try some more little things and then I will be able to say that I'm ready to go."

Tamada's Technical Director Giulio Bernardelle also outlined the importance of the tyre tests ahead of the race. "We continued to work hard, choosing a harder rear tyre to try and improve the endurance, and we picked an ideal set-up for these tyres," said Bernardelle.

"We got the consistency of performance that we were looking for, but we're not sure how it compares to the rest yet, because lots of riders upped the tempo this afternoon.

"Now it just remains to be seen how many riders will be able to maintain the rhythm throughout the whole race. We're confident and it's a similar situation to Motegi, where we prevailed in the race."

Max Biaggi has had the reverse weekend to Camel Honda team-mate Tamada so far, enduring a difficult first day but recovering to qualify seventh fastest today.

"Things went better today, more than anything we made steps forward compared to yesterday, but what is annoying me most is that we can't get to the level of performance we showed in pre-season here, from which we have data on the computer," said Biaggi, who took victory here in 2002.

"Starting from this base, and with all the experience I have at this circuit, I hoped for a very different result. As soon as I got my wheels on the track yesterday I realised that the bike was giving me different sensations, above all in braking, where it's really hard work.

"With the qualifying tyres I only improved by two tenths, which isn't normal either. I don't think I will make any substantial changes though, the set-up is decided and the race tyres too."

Team Principal Sito Pons, meanwhile, was happy with the performance of both of his riders and is looking to them to take a lead role in Sunday's race. "The rhythm that both our riders have shown means that we can be optimistic for the race. It will undoubtedly be a tough race and the tyre choice will be crucial.

"We expect it to be hot and consistency throughout will be the key. It depends on who is able to keep a high rhythm like the one we saw today. Our work isn't over, and in the warm-up we will be looking for the finishing touches to be as competitive as possible."


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