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MotoGP - Rossi back to his best at Brno - August 18th 2006

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    Valentino Rossi got back to dominant form today as the MotoGP World Championship returned to action in the Czech Republic following a brief summer break. The Italian was able to bounce back from his Laguna Seca disappointment with a series of fast laps at the Brno circuit after quickly finding a good base set-up for his YZR-M1 machine. After lapping second quickest in the morning practice, just 0.047 seconds behind series leader Nicky Hayden (Honda), Rossi ended the day on top of the time sheets after improving by almost two seconds in the afternoon - with only Randy De Puniet (Kawasaki) able to lap within 0.5 seconds of his best effort.

    It was also a positive first day for Rossi's Camel Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards, who started the day with one of his two bikes configured with the same settings used by Rossi on his way to victory and the circuit lap record last season. The information immediately put the Texan on the front foot and, after reacquainting himself with the YZR-M1 machine following his recent exertions on a Superbike in the Suzuka 8 hour race, he was also able to pick up the pace in the afternoon and lapped fourth fastest.

    Valentino Rossi (1st - 1'57.871; 34 laps);

    "Today was very positive for me because the bike worked well from the start and then we tried some things that improved it even more. We have experimented with some new suspension settings to help the tyres work properly, especially the rear, and they had the effect we wanted so I am happy about this. This year has been difficult because we have struggled so much in practice and then I have ended up on the third or fourth row of the grid, so I am pleased to start off like this. We also tried a qualifying tyre today, in order to give us more of an idea about what we need to adjust tomorrow in the afternoon session in order to challenge for a place at the front of the grid. This is really why I am in first place but anyway the race setting is also good and I was second fastest in the morning practice too so we know we have the pace. Tomorrow we need to continue working like this."

    Colin Edwards (4th - 1'58.851; 38 laps);

    "It's strange that after all the bad luck we've had this season we should roll up here at Brno and things suddenly seem to be turning around! We turned up here today and decided to start with two different settings - one based on what we found in the test last year and the other on Valentino's 2005 race setting. I have changed my riding style since then so I went out and tried both this morning and basically Valentino's setting worked and mine didn't! I felt really comfortable with that so we went with it in the afternoon and just continued making small modifications so that it suits me better. It's early days yet but it is important to get a good start and also a relief to know that we are onto something good. Hopefully the good work can continue tomorrow for both Valentino and I."

    Davide Brivio - Camel Yamaha Team Director;

    "It was a good start to the weekend and just what we were looking for after the engineers worked so hard during the summer. This is only the first day and we all know the important thing is to continue like this and make sure we are prepared for qualifying and the race but it is nice to have such good result so early in the weekend. It looks like the bike has responded well for both Valentino and Colin so let's hope it continues to do so. Today has definitely given the team a boost and there is a very positive spirit here but it is still early days."

    Free Practice;

  1. 1. Valentino Rossi, Yamaha (ITA) 1'57.871
  2. 2. Randy De Puniet, Kawasaki (FRA) 1'58.028
  3. 3. Loris Capirossi, Ducati (ITA) 1'58.470
  4. 4. Colin Edwards, Yamaha (USA) 1'58.851
  5. 5. Kenny Roberts, Team Robert KR (USA) 1'59.119
  6. 6. Shinya Nakano, Kawasaki (JPN) 1'59.240
  7. 7. Carlos Checa, Yamaha (ESP) 1'59.254
  8. 8. Daniel Pedrosa, Honda (ESP) 1'59.258
  9. 9. Marco Melandri, Honda (ITA) 1'59.313
  10. 10. John Hopkins, Suzuki (USA) 1'59.406
  11. 11. Nicky Hayden, Honda (USA) 1'59.515
  12. 12. Casey Stoner, Honda (AUS) 1'59.607
  13. 13. Makato Tamada, Honda (JPN) 1'59.919
  14. 14. Toni Elias, Honda (ESP) 1'59.995
  15. 15. Alex Hofmann, Ducati (GER) 2'0.507
  16. 17. James Ellison, Yamaha (GBR) 2'2.426