Checa Secures Provisional Pole in Brno; Rossi Seventh After heavy rain showers this morning the Brno circuit presented Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha duo Valentino Rossi and Carlos Checa with a slowly drying surface on which to mount their first ...
Checa Secures Provisional Pole in Brno; Rossi Seventh
After heavy rain showers this morning the Brno circuit presented Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha duo Valentino Rossi and Carlos Checa with a slowly drying surface on which to mount their first qualifying challenge in this afternoon's timed session. Checa was to prove the most adept of all 26 riders, setting a best time of 2'11.188s after an exciting and changeable hour of action at the Czech track, with the lap times some 12 seconds slower than in dry conditions. Rossi, as yet struggling to find a similarly effective set-up to Checa in the wet, went seventh quickest, setting a best time of 2'13.754s.
Checa took the lead time just eight minutes into this afternoon's session, increasing his advantage on the slowly-drying track to 0.6 seconds one lap later. He was temporarily forced to relinquish his provisional pole first by Sete Gibernau (Honda), who eventually went third fastest, then by Troy Bayliss' Ducati. Checa claimed the status of fastest rider three times in all, as fortunes and track conditions altered with every passing lap. The Spaniard's quickest lap, his 14th, was a full 0.781 seconds better than Bayliss and over a second faster than Gibernau.
Checa, Rossi and their competitors have one more chance to improve their times and machine set-up in tomorrow afternoon's final qualifying session, for which better weather is expected.
CARLOS CHECA (1st, 2'11.188s)
"It was quite exciting because I would come into the pit garage in first position then go down to second or third, then fight back up again. I had a good feeling today and it was satisfying because the conditions were the same for everyone. We set the bike up quite well and we've been able to fit the right tyre at the right moment. In the wet I already feel quite comfortable even though I expect the weather to be much better over the rest of the weekend. Even in the dry I think we can be good because after I finished our test at Donington I felt good. I hope that in the dry I can recover that feeling on the bike."
VALENTINO ROSSI (7th, 2'13.754s)
"We've had a few problems with traction and acceleration because we are working on different engine maps. The bike's a bit nervous. We're trying lots of different things for the rain but also contemplating the possibility of dry conditions. Above all I hope it's dry tomorrow, but either way I think we will be in a good position for Sunday. It's always a bit risky riding in these weather conditions but in general the bike feels easier to ride in the rain than it did before and Brno is a difficult but beautiful track to ride it on."
DAVIDE BRIVIO -- TEAM DIRECTOR
"It was a little strange today. The wet, but not fully wet, conditions made it so, but Carlos and his crew did a good job, they worked well and got provisional pole position. It's always nice to be there. Valentino is trying more things and he has less experience on this bike in the wet. We are working on the mapping and electronics to alter the engine character, to make it more smooth and sweet, easier for the rider to use. Of course we will analyse all the information we have to hand, because we are a team. As Carlos is fastest we can really see what the differences are."