Rossi and Checa Fight Rain and Wind at Assen Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha riders Carlos Checa and Valentino Rossi battled against the forces of nature at Assen today, as heavy rain and blustery winds affected the first day of qualifying at the ...
Rossi and Checa Fight Rain and Wind at Assen
Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha riders Carlos Checa and Valentino Rossi battled against the forces of nature at Assen today, as heavy rain and blustery winds affected the first day of qualifying at the classic Dutch TT circuit. The adverse conditions were a factor throughout the day, although Checa and Rossi nonetheless started brightly, heading up the unofficial morning session in first and second places respectively.
Their strong form continued in the early part of the first hour of timed qualifying, when the weather was at its worst, with Checa sitting in provisional pole position and with Rossi also on the provisional front row in third. As the rains tailed off somewhat the track lost some of its patches of standing water and with 20 minutes to go of the one hour session several riders made charges to the front on the slowly drying track.
Sete Gibernau (Honda) was the top finisher on day one, with a time of 2'12.540. The provisional front row also featured Alex Barros (Honda, 2'13.723) and Ruben Xaus (Ducati, 2'13.876). The surprise package of Michel Fabrizio (WCM) was fourth fastest, with Troy Bayliss (Ducati) fifth. Checa, in sixth, eked out a provisional second row start thanks to his 2'14.658 lap, while Rossi's 2'14.919 leaves him at the head of row three.
Final qualifying tomorrow now remains for each rider to make improvements in time and position, determining their final grid placing for Saturday's 19-lap race around the endlessly challenging Assen track.
CARLOS CHECA (6th, 2'14.658)
"Working on the bike in wet conditions is not easy, but we made some improvements and I feel quite comfortable on the bike. I couldn't use the same tyre as this morning and I did not get enough time to get a good feeling on the other tyre. I am reasonably satisfied, even though we know that there are some areas where we can go faster. I'm quite positive because the feeling is not too bad. So far the work we have done means that if it rains again on raceday we will be competitive. If it's dry -- we see!"
VALENTINO ROSSI (7th, 2'14.919)
"I had a good morning, finished second fastest and I'm feeling a bit better in the rain now. This morning I felt good with the bike but it changed this afternoon. For some reason it was more difficult and I had some more problems with the settings. It didn't feel very good. We will be trying something a bit different tomorrow. Sete is really strong in the rain and it is not easy in these conditions to catch him. I think if it doesn't rain tomorrow I will be able to improve."
DAVIDE BRIVIO -- GAULOISES FORTUNA YAMAHA TEAM DIRECTOR
"The conditions were difficult but they are conditions we need to work in, to set up the bike and make it work. Even if it may not be useful for the race, which is supposed to be dry, we have to manage these two days in the rain, today and probably tomorrow. It's a good opportunity for us to work under these conditions and we have to use our time as well as possible. We need to create a good package for the riders in every condition. Even though the rains lessenedl with 20 minutes to go, I think there was just too much water standing on the track to make any great improvement."