Abu Dhabi 2017 reactions: Master Class Qualifying

Today was the dress rehearsal, tomorrow’s the real deal

Sonka is congratulated by his team

The Master Class pilots of the Red Bull Air Race will compete for the first podium of 2017, but before that, they had to complete Qualifying, here's what they thought...

Matthias Dolderer
"I didn't fly in the right rhythm today, and I hope I can correct the mistakes I made by looking at the analysis tonight. I feel the DNF yesterday didn't help, I lost four minutes of track time and that would have made a difference. But there are no points for today, we will see what happens tomorrow."

Matt Hall
"Not having my own raceplane is frustrating, but you can't let it get to you. We always knew this race wouldn't be one for us, we've just got to smile and get through it."

Nicolas Ivanoff
"It wasn't as nice as yesterday, but I'm hearing noise in the cockpit when I turn the smoke on and maybe that's on my mind when I'm pulling in the high-G turns. I will have to improve on my times tomorrow. It will be a surprising race, the new guys are strong and the gap between pilots is getting smaller."

Yoshihide Muroya
"I have no power in the engine, which we need to solve quickly. We can fly, we just need more pace, something is wrong and it's obvious when I'm flying, but we will be working late trying to fix it."

Pete McLeod
"I'm having trouble in the vertical turns, if I pull any harder I'll over-G, and I don't have an answer of how I'm going to fix it. We'll look at the analysis tonight, and try to improve for tomorrow."

Kirby Chambliss
"I think I was a little bit conservative because I was afraid of an over-G so was trying to be careful. I think I can get a little bit quicker, and I don't need to over-G any more. This is a G-track, it's where the race will be won, it's the guys that get the turn."

Martin Sonka
"This is a very fast track and every little mistake counts, so you have to fly smoothly, and we're entering the pull-ups at a very high speed, so it's easy to over-G. We are happy not just with the result, but to prove to ourselves we can fly fast and consistently with no penalties or mistakes - we have to do the same tomorrow."

Michael Goulian
"I like racing in Abu Dhabi, we started well here last year and I like the rhythm of this racetrack. You have to fly to the edge if you're going to win in this track. You're flirting with the over-G, and that's what we did. We didn't take it easy and it paid off. We're rowing downstream, everything is flowing great and we're looking forward to a great season, but you can't relax, everybody is super fast on this track."

Juan Velarde
"I am happy with my two clean runs in Qualifying, but the rest of the guys are fast. I have to check my lines this evening to see where I can go faster. I also need to pull more G in the Vertical Turning Manoeuvre, but I was conscious of it because of yesterday's over-G."

Francois Le Vot
"I'm satisfied with my performance in the track. The obvious thing is that we have seen a reduction in the gap on certain parts of the track, which shows I can improve. We have identified that I need to work on the high-G turns, but I can't pull as much as I would like, so tomorrow I will have to make it better."

Peter Podlunsek
"I don't know what to say, it was the complete opposite of how we performed yesterday. It was an unnecessary pylon hit and then I over-G'd in the second run. It was a difficult day, but I'm confident going into tomorrow, I will try to do what I expect of myself."

Petr Kopfstein
"Because of the over-G in the first run I flew conservatively in the second. I was easy on the stick in the Vertical Turning Manoeuvre and lost some time, but we've got a good strategy and I feel confident going into tomorrow."

Cristian Bolton
"As we've said since the beginning, we are a competitive team. We started last year very slow, but we work well as a team and are excelling and accelerating in a very positive direction. We're going to try to make it faster tomorrow. Let's bring it!"

Mikael Brageot
"It was a great experience out there. The pressure is high, but we had a plan and I stuck to it today. I wanted to be confident in the first run and then try to push harder in the second. Tomorrow we will do everything we can to improve and push the Skyracer as far as possible."