Valentino Rossi will start a MotoGP race from the front of the grid for only the second time this season in tomorrow's Czech Republic Grand Prix after clocking an incredible pole record time in today's single qualifying session at Brno. Rossi's...
Valentino Rossi will start a MotoGP race from the front of the grid for only the second time this season in tomorrow's Czech Republic Grand Prix after clocking an incredible pole record time in today's single qualifying session at Brno. Rossi's time of 1'56.191 was almost 1.5 seconds inside the previous best lap at this track and followed up an impressive performance yesterday, when he also set the pace. A trial run on a qualifying tyre in those first free practice sessions paid dividends today as the Italian defined his race set-up for the YZR-M1 machine before setting a devastating pace which knocked Loris Capirossi (Ducati) off the top spot in the dying moments of the session. Capirossi will line up in second place whilst Kenny Roberts (Team KR) completes the front row.
Rossi's Camel Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards also enjoyed a productive day working on his race setting and was on course to challenge for a place on the front two rows before a minor mistake in the first section of his fast lap cost him vital tenths. It meant that his final effort recorded 1'56.967 on the stopwatch - enough for eighth place and a third row start. Tomorrow's race is the first of a final run of six, which will determine whether Rossi can cut back a 51-point gap to series leader Nicky Hayden (Honda) and defend the title of MotoGP World Champion for a fifth successive season.
VALENTINO ROSSI (1st - 1'56.191; 25 laps)
"I think the practice today was a great emotion for everybody but especially for us! We worked well on the bike, especially the tyres, because we have suffered too much this season during the practice sessions and my team and Michelin did a great job today. When I saw Loris' time I thought it was very fast and didn't know if I could beat it but I was very determined and I pushed hard on all three qualifying tyres. In the end the final lap was great and to set a 1'56.1 was unbelievable! For tomorrow pole position is definitely better than starting from the fifth row like in other races so for this I am very happy. We still need to decide two or three things about the setting before the race, but I am quite competitive."
COLIN EDWARDS (8th - 1'56.967; 24 laps)
"I really don't know what to think about today! Our race pace is okay, we're doing 58.6 which looks like it could compete for the top five, but I won't be happy with that! I think we need to make some more changes for tomorrow morning to the setting and see if we can find another three-tenths. With the setting we were using today, the race tyre was working well for 3 or 4 laps and then it was starting to lose grip and then the lap times were going. So we've got a few ideas and we'll fiddle with the setting in the morning a bit to see if we can sort that out. On the positive side, I think we're finally figuring out what we need to do with the setting in order to make the tyres work better with our bike, and today the qualifier especially worked really well for me. Unfortunately I lost half a second on the first split but the tyre was perfect so that's pretty encouraging after some of the problems we've had with qualifiers so far this season!"
DAVIDE BRIVIO - CAMEL YAMAHA TEAM DIRECTOR
"It is very nice to be back in pole position - our first target for the weekend was to qualify on the front two rows so we are delighted that Valentino has gone one better! The last three races have all been complicated for us because of the starting position but hopefully now this should not be a problem for us tomorrow. Now we need to fix a few things with the bike and find the best combination of the different settings we have tried over the course of the weekend so far. There are a few riders with a good pace so it will be a difficult race but we expect Valentino to be up there and if Colin can get a decent start then I believe he also has the pace to stay with the leaders and end the weekend with a good result. For Valentino this is a very important race because the championship could be a lot clearer tomorrow night."