Gauloises Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi continued his domination of the MotoGP World Championship at the Brno circuit today, as the series returned to the Czech circuit after its traditional summer break. Rossi needs just two more victories to clinch the title for the fifth successive season and he started this weekend's mission encouragingly, clocking under lap record pace with the fastest time over two hours of free practice.
After falling from his Yamaha YZR-M1 machine in a collision with Troy Bayliss (Honda) during the morning session, Rossi squeezed every available minute out of the rest of the day's action as he worked on Michelin tyre combinations and race set-up for Sunday's eleventh Grand Prix of the season, setting his fastest time on his final lap of the day.
Rossi's Gauloises Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards, riding the YZR-M1 here for the first time, was satisfied with his performance after posting the seventh fastest time. The American immediately felt comfortable with the base set-up of his machine and set his best lap of the day in the morning session, before focusing much of his day's work on a variety of tyre tests.
Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Yamaha Team), 1st - 1'59.278;
"Today was a strange day because we all came back from the holidays and it felt like everybody was still in the beach rhythm! The crash this morning was not the perfect way to start. Troy was pushing hard but he suddenly decided to come in to the pit and braked in the middle of the corner. I was lucky because my front brake made contact and I went down at 149km/h but I am not hurt. I think we need to modify the pit entry for next season because at the moment it is dangerous; I will talk about it with the Safety Commission. Anyway, my mechanics did a great job to virtually rebuild the whole bike in just three hours and this afternoon I was able to do a lot of tyre tests. In the end we went back to the first tyre and I was able to go fastest. Tomorrow we need to work on the suspension to find more grip but so far I am quite happy."
Colin Edwards (Gauloises Yamaha Team), 8th - 1'59.867;
"The base set-up we started out with this morning was probably as good as I have felt with the bike all season, it did exactly what I wanted it to do. The Yamaha definitely suits this circuit and my pace in the first session was good. From there we concentrated on tyre tests, although it turned out that the one we tried first was the best of the lot. When we put that back on at the end I immediately felt comfortable again. When Valentino put the same tyre on he set the fastest time of the session, so we know what works. Tomorrow we'll have to focus more on the bike set-up and I'm confident we'll improve the lap time and the position."
Jeremy Burgess - Valentino Rossi's Crew Chief;
"The track is quite dirty and there's not much grip so we have some work to do to try and adjust the bike. It's early days yet, but the setting we've found so far is quite good and, as always, we'll be looking to improve on it. The guys did a good job to repair the damage to Valentino's bike, although they strip it down after every session anyway so it doesn't make much of a difference whether they put the same parts back on or fetch new ones!"
- 1. V. Rossi, Yamaha - 1' 59.278
- 2. L. Capirossi, Ducati - 1' 59.366
- 3. S. Gibernau, Hond - 1' 59.454
- 4. M. Melandri, Honda - 1' 59.469
- 5. K. Roberts, Suzuki - 1' 59.755
- 6. C. Checa, Ducati - 1' 59.807
- 7. N. Hayden, Honda - 1' 59.833
- 8. C. Edwards, Yamaha - 1' 59.867
- 9. A. Barros, Honda - 1' 59.991
- 10. J. Hopkins, Suzuki - 2' 0.043
- 11. M. Biaggi, Honda - 2' 0.058
- 12. A. Hofman, Kawasaki - 2' 0.146
- 13. T. Bayliss, Honda - 2' 0.185
- 14. S. Nakano, Kawasaki - 2' 0.227
- 15. T. Elias, Yamaha - 2' 0.286
- 16. N. Aoki, Suzuki - 2' 0.354