Rossi and Checa On Jerez Provisional Front Row A blistering end to the first session of qualifying at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez today delivered a perfect result for the Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha rider and reigning World Champion...
Rossi and Checa On Jerez Provisional Front Row
A blistering end to the first session of qualifying at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez today delivered a perfect result for the Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha rider and reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi. His provisional pole of time of 1'40.818 was a new absolute track record, almost 1.1 seconds faster than his own previous best, and two seconds faster than his race lap record. Rossi's team-mate Carlos Checa, riding in front of his home crowd, went an impressive third fastest in battling style, with a fastest time of 1'41.427.
The end of the session proved to be a frantic and somewhat desperate affair, with Rossi well on his way to a further improvement in lap time with only a minute to go, only to be balked by another rider. Rossi headed the times almost throughout, but Checa went from second to seventh and back again, before making his final third place mark with no more laps left to run.
Rossi's rich seam of form on the Yamaha YZR-M1 was evident early on, as he went fastest in this morning's unofficial session, with Checa in seventh, still working through to an optimum set-up.
Splitting the Yamaha riders on the front row, thanks to another late charge, was local Honda rider Sete Gibernau (1'41.198), with the provisional second row headed by Max Biaggi (Honda, 1'41.546).
VALENTINO ROSSI (1st, 1'40.818)
"Honestly, when I saw the time on the computer I couldn't believe it. We started with the same good rhythm as Welkom and we are in the front. The bike is going really well, it's really agile and great to ride! We have some other things to try with the tyres, which we will do tomorrow morning. I don't know if it will rain tomorrow but I'm more worried about Sunday's weather anyway. I'm very happy, I love this track, it's my favourite and the Yamaha goes well here. We are at a good level but for sure we are not at our maximum. We need more horsepower."
CARLOS CHECA (3rd, 1'41.427)
"We are on the provisional front row but we know that the weather tomorrow might not be so good and I realised that today it was quite important to finish in a good position. In the morning we had a few troubles with the bike but I am happy with the work we have now done. I just need some more time to take the full potential from the bike. We are getting close with the settings and I feel more comfortable with the bike -- a very different feeling from South Africa. Now I am looking forward to a dry race, but really we do not know what the conditions will be like."
DAVIDE BRIVIO, GAULOISES FORTUNA YAMAHA TEAM DIRECTOR
"A very good session for our team. I think Valentino did an impressive lap time and would have improved even more if it hadn't been for some traffic on track. It was a big improvement compared to the last time as well, 1.1 seconds or so. Unbelievable, and we are happy for that. It is also very good to see Carlos back again on a top position. Both riders are on the front row and that is very important today because it might rain tomorrow. It's only Friday but it's good to be here just in case."
PROVISIONAL FRONT ROW
1. VALENTINO ROSSI (ITA) GAULOISES FORTUNA YAMAHA 1'40.818
2. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Telefonica Movistar Honda 1'41.198
3. CARLOS CHECA (SPA) GAULOISES FORTUNA YAMAHA 1'41.427