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Rossi back with a bang at Brno

Rossi back with a bang at Brno

Rossi back with a bang at Brno

Valentino Rossi showed that he has lost none of his sharpness over the summer break as he clocked the fastest time on the first day of action at the Gauloises Grand Prix Ceske republiky today. Rossi's time of 1'59.278, on the very final lap of this afternoon's practice session at Brno, ousted Loris Capirossi from the top of the time-sheets by just 0.088 seconds and spoiled an otherwise perfect day for the Ducati rider who had set the quickest time in the morning session as Rossi suffered his second crash in as many meetings.

"Today was a strange day because we all came back from the holidays and it felt like everybody was still in the beach rhythm!" said Rossi, who holds the pole record at this circuit with a time of 1'58.769, set two years ago. "The crash this morning was not the perfect way to start. Troy was pushing hard but he suddenly decided to come into the pit and braked in the middle of the last corner. I was lucky because my front brake made contact and I went down at 149km/h but I am not hurt. Tomorrow we need to work on the suspension to find more grip, but so far I am quite happy."

Last year's winner Sete Gibernau was third fastest today as he continues his quest for a first victory of the season. The Spaniard also has one eye on second place in the championship as he currently lies in third place, just one point behind his Honda team-mate Marco Melandri. The Italian youngster, who has won three times at this track in the smaller Grand Prix classes, was fourth fastest today ahead of Suzuki rider Kenny Roberts and Ducati's Carlos Checa. Nicky Hayden was seventh fastest whilst Colin Edwards was the only rider who failed to improve from the morning to the afternoon session as he slipped back to eighth. Alex Barros, the lap record holder, completed the provisional front three rows in ninth place ahead of the definitive second qualifying session tomorrow.

Veteran rider Jeremy McWilliams made an impressive return to MotoGP action with the Proton Team KR today, lapping just 3.611 seconds slower than Rossi on the 2004 prototype he rode last season. The team have rolled out their V5 motor for the first time this year after Austrian engine suppliers KTM decided to end their involvement in the joint MotoGP project last week.


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