|Fans keen for another slice of
MotoGP action headed to Brno today for the first day of practice for
Sunday's Gauloises Grand Prix Ceske republiky, with interspersed
sunshine and clouds for the riders fresh from their summer break.
An extraordinary time of 1’57.871
put Valentino Rossi at the top of the timesheets after the first two
practice session before Sunday’s Grand Prix, and marked a return to
form for the reigning World Champion. Having been forced to retire
from the last round in the USA with mechnical troubles, the
Italian's lap time was almost a second quicker than his race lap
record, and just outside Sete Gibernau's pole time from last year,
showing that the five-time MotoGP World Champion is as keen as ever
to retain his crown despite the 51-point gap to leader Nicky Hayden.
His scorching lap was not the only surprise of the session though,
as a late surge from Randy de Puniet put the French Kawasaki rider
into second. Loris Capirossi and Colin Edwards completed the riders
to go round in under 1’59.
One of the morning’s fastest riders, Kenny Roberts Jr dropped down
to fifth place in the afternoon standings, with Shinya Nakano,
Carlos Checa and Dani Pedrosa ahead of Marco Melandri and
Championship leader Nicky Hayden. Repsol Honda’s American star was
unable to better his best time from this morning.
Jorge Lorenzo remained at the top of the leaderboard on day one of
250cc practice, taking provisional pole by a clear margin with a
time of 2’03.238.
Only Andrea Dovizioso, half a second off his rival’s time, was able
to come close to the Spaniard on a day when he showed his intent to
come back strong after the summer break. Hector Barbera was over 1.4
seconds behind his team-mate in third place, ahead of Alex de
Angelis, Alex Debon and Hiroshi Aoyama. The Japanese KTM rider
suffered a mechanical problem during the session, affecting his
rhythm somewhat. Marco Simoncelli, Shuhei Aoyama, Roberto Locatelli
and Martin Cardenas rounded off the top ten.
Czech rider Michel Filla suffered a spectacular crash in which he
highsided as a result of excess power on the corner exit. Alex
Baldolini was ruled out of Sunday's Grand Prix after a morning
session in which he fractured his left wrist.
Czech rider Lukas Pesek took provisional pole for his home 125cc
race, with a time of 2’08.810. The Derbi rider was less than a tenth
of a second ahead of world championship leader Alvaro Bautista,
whilst the morning’s fastest rider Mika Kallio and Mattia Pasini
rounded off the provisional front row. Julian Simon continued in
good form with fifth place, accompanied on row two by Gabor
Talmacsi, Fabrizio Lai and Nico Terol.
1st: Valentino Rossi (Yamaha):
"I am happy because this year has been difficult so far, especially
during the practice we are struggling and starting races from the
third or the fourth row. We have some new settings for the
suspension to help the tyres work properly, and I'm happy, because
it's already quite good."