Camel Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi stole the pole position for Sunday’s Czech Grand Prix with the fastest lap ever at the Brno Circuit in the Czech Republic.
Rossi’s fast lap came after time had expired and on a lap that didn’t begin well. The world champion was behind the fast time of Loris Capirossi at the first two intervals. But in the second half of the lap Rossi stormed ahead, ending with a new record lap of 1:56.191.
"I think this practice is a great emotion for everybody, especially for us," Rossi said. "I’m happy because we work very well on the bike. Also with the qualification tires that we suffer too much during this year. And we did a great job together with my team and together with Michelin.
"When I see the lap of Loris (Capirossi) I say, is very fast; I don’t know if I’m able. But I try, I try very strong with the three qualification tires. And at the end it was a very good lap, very fast; 56.1 is unbelievable."
Rossi knocked Capirossi from the top spot, but he held on to second.
"I’m really happy in that moment because when we got back and we think about Friday morning my bike is terrible," he said. "We try to do everyhting and we try to have really good setting. setting. Now I have good confidence with tires and bike and my rhythm with race tires is really good. now I hope to go back, go back with the front guy."
Team Roberts’ Kenny Roberts Jr. moved to third after time expired, following a bit of drama. Roberts Jr. stopped on the course late in the session with a mechanical problem, but was able to ride back under power. His final lap time of 1:56.603 put him at the end of the front row.
"We had a little bit of a problem," Roberts Jr. said. "I found out now that it’s two separate fuel system problems that we made with the smaller tanks trying to get my riding position altered a little bit on the bike. So I was trying to signal to the guys on TV there that, hey, I’ve got a problem with this one too. We got that solved by putting the old tanks back on and actually didn’t feel as comfortable, but we were able to pull out a front row."
Repsol Honda’s Nicky Hayden finished fourth. Hayden’s fast lap came on the 18th of 21 laps and not, as expected, on his final lap.
Kawasaki’s Shinya Nakano ended up in the middle of row two between Hayden and the Fortuna Honda of Toni Elias.
The final two Americans are on row three. Rizla Suzuki’s John Hopkins finished seventh, one spot in front of Camel Yamaha’s Colin Edwards. Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa filled out row three.
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