British GP Fortuna Yamaha Friday notes

Carlos Checa continued his run of strong form today as he put his Fortuna Yamaha Team YZR-M1 on the front row of the provisional grid for Sunday's British Grand Prix at Donington Park. Checa recorded the fourth fastest time with a 1'31.562, just...

Carlos Checa continued his run of strong form today as he put his Fortuna Yamaha Team YZR-M1 on the front row of the provisional grid for Sunday's British Grand Prix at Donington Park. Checa recorded the fourth fastest time with a 1'31.562, just inside the fastest ever lap of the famous circuit. MotoGP class rookie Marco Melandri was set for a second row start before slipping to 13th on the provisional grid in the usual end of session reshuffle. Melandri's time of 1'32.283 was only a fraction over a second slower than the pole time with the top 11 riders separated by only one second.

World Champion Valentino Rossi (Honda 1'31.196) made a strong start to his second "home" Grand Prix. The London-based rider was fastest for most of the session and held off a late challenge from Australian Troy Bayliss (Ducati 1 '31.278) with a string of flying laps at the end of the hour. Third place on the grid went to Spaniard Sete Gibernau (Honda 1'31.527) just ahead of Checa. All four front row starters were inside the previous circuit best lap (1'31.563) set by Rossi in qualifying last year.

Fortuna Yamaha Team Catalan-born rider Carlos Checa made a strong start to the weekend this morning with fourth place in free practice. Checa, who along with Rossi and team-mate Melandri is a UK resident, waited until the last ten seconds of the session to replicate that fourth place in this afternoon's qualifier with a flying lap.

"I think for a starting point that's not too bad," said Checa. "We did a good job this afternoon. It was quite difficult to find the right tyre and I 'm not so clear in this area. We'll do some more work with the tyres tomorrow morning. Today I wasn't feeling too good as I had a headache. I may have picked up a cold so I'll go to the Clinica tonight to perfect my personal "set-up" for tomorrow. "The team are working well. They have given me a good bike here like at the last race and that helps to give me a new positive feeling that I didn't have at the start of the season. Now we're going better we can hopefully score some good results."

Marco Melandri was a little disappointed with his provisional fourth row start despite feeling happier with his general set-up today. The 20-year-old reigning 250cc World Champion finally qualified thirteenth fastest with his Fortuna Yamaha Team YZR-M1 with 1'32.283, missing the opportunity to put in a faster lap at the end of the session.

"I'm happy, but sad about the last lap," said Melandri. "On the second to last lap I saw that I had three minutes to go so I thought I could get another lap in. But in the end I was too late. My feeling with the bike is quite good and I never really had a good feeling at this track in previous years. I feel better on the M1 than I did on the 250 here. I think I can improve quite a lot tomorrow. We've changed the set up a little bit since Assen. I gave feedback to the crew and they've altered the suspension geometry a little and it feels better for me. I'm really happy with the work of the team. They say the weather will be good for the next two days so hopefully I'll get a better grid position tomorrow afternoon!"

Team Director Davide Brivio welcomed the team's first qualifying performance, "It's been a good day," he explained. "With both riders we have some room for improvement tomorrow. Carlos did well with a fast lap at the end of the session. Unfortunately Marco thought he would still be in time for one more lap and so didn't get his flying lap. But he seems to have a good feeling on the bike and both riders are quite happy. We'll keep working methodically to improve our performance throughout the weekend."

PROVISIONAL FRONT ROW

1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Repsol HONDA 1'.31.196 2. Troy Bayliss (AUS) DUCATI Marlboro Team 1'31.278 3. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Telefonica Movistar HONDA 1'31.527 4. CARLOS CHECA (SPA) Fortuna YAMAHA Team 1'31.562

13. MARCO MELANDRI (ITA) Fortuna YAMAHA Team 1'32.283

For further information please contact:

Ali Forth Press Officer Fortuna Yamaha Team c/o Capitalize Ltd 52, Thrale Street London, SE1 9HW, UK Mob: +44 (0)7713 741 566 Tel: +44 (0)20 7940 1700 Fax: +44 (0)20 7940 1739 E-mail: ali@yamahamotogp.com

or

Guillem Novellas Fortuna Racing press officer fortunapress@attglobal.net

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Carlos Checa , Valentino Rossi , Troy Bayliss , Sete Gibernau , Marco Melandri , Davide Brivio