Rossi and Checa Close To The Pace at Sachsenring Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Carlos Checa made an early positive mark on the Sachsenring Grand Prix by securing third and eighth best times respectively in this afternoon's...
Rossi and Checa Close To The Pace at Sachsenring
Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Carlos Checa made an early positive mark on the Sachsenring Grand Prix by securing third and eighth best times respectively in this afternoon's first qualifying session, with Rossi already under the previous track best. A close one-hour competition against the stopwatch saw 13 riders within one second of the provisional pole time and six riders quicker than the previous track best time.
Rossi's best first day lap of 1'23.539s was only 0.292s from fastest man Sete Gibernau (Honda) and a mere 0.086s slower than second place rider, Nicky Hayden (Honda). Checa, still working through settings to handle the combination of slow and dazzlingly fast corners, was well in touch with the fastest lappers, only 0.584 from provisional pole.
After the extra sticky qualifying tyres were broken out to the top riders, with just less than ten minutes left to run, Checa posted the second quickest time, but an immediate response from Sete Gibernau put his Honda on provisional pole. As the final minutes began to tick past Marco Melandri pushed Rossi to third and Checa to fourth, packing the sharp end of the grid with Yamahas for a period.
Rossi hit back, with his best time coming on his penultimate lap, but Nicky Haden went faster again and eased Rossi out to third. Checa could not halt the progress of some other riders in measurable lap time, but approaches day two with confidence of a better result. With the weather forecast for tomorrow showing improved temperatures the final hour of qualifying may yet prove to be the decisive one.
VALENTINO ROSSI (3rd, 1'23.539)
"We worked with qualifiers this afternoon but only for a short time. I'm feeling a lot better here, all the riders are very close and pretty fast. Sete set a good time but we are not far behind. We made some small changes and I think tomorrow I can do even better on the qualifiers. The bike told me she likes this track! We're on course, especially considering the last race. I need to make up time on the last and second to last corners and this is one of the more difficult circuits to pass at, so it will be very important to get a good qualifying position tomorrow."
CARLOS CHECA (8th, 1'23.831)
"I feel quite comfortable on the bike but on old tyres I am struggling a little, not quite able to keep the pace. That will be our work tomorrow, having got some confidence. There are some areas to improve. The slow part of this track is maybe too slow but the rest is better for our bikes. When the set-up is okay then the feeling even in the slow area is not too bad. For the slower part maybe we need either a 125cc bike or 100bhp less! It is nice when you have a mix of slower and faster tracks and it is good fun to ride here anyway."
DAVIDE BRIVIO -- TEAM DIRECTOR
"For a first day package we are in a good situation, better than the last race. Valentino has a nice pace around here and he is in good shape. Carlos is a little bit slower but still at a reasonable pace on race tyres. We have a strong base setting now but we need to work more on the details, suspension settings for the most part. Valentino stayed out for many laps at one point to evaluate the performance of a possible race tyre. Carlos was very fast on T1 and T2 on qualifying tyres but lost a bit of time in the second part of the track. This bike seems to suit this track well and it is difficult to make an evaluation of this session based on the results because at the end, when people started to use soft tyres, the situation changed completely."
PROVISIONAL FRONT ROW
1. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Telefonica Movistar Honda 1'23.247
2. Nicky Hayden (USA) Repsol Honda Team 1'23.453
3. VALENTINO ROSSI (ITA) Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha 1'23.539
PROVISIONAL SECOND ROW
1. Alex Barros (BRA) Repsol Honda Team 1'23.625
2. Kenny Roberts (USA) Team Suzuki MotoGP 1'23.684
3. Marco Melandri (ITA) Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3 1'23.692