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Aug 15, 2009

Updated: Rossi Edges Out Lorenzo To Take MotoGP Pole Position At Brno

Valentino Rossi (46).
FIM MotoGP World Championship
Brno, Czech Republic
August 15, 2009
Qualifying Results:

MotoGP (all on Bridgestone tires):

1. Valentino ROSSI (Yamaha), 1:56.145, crash
2. Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha), 1:56.195
3. Dani PEDROSA (Honda), 1:56.528
4. Toni ELIAS (Honda), 1:56.817
5. Colin EDWARDS (Yamaha), 1:56.954
6. Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Honda), 1:57.108
7. Alex DE ANGELIS (Honda), 1:57.775
8. Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati), 1:57.803
9. Loris CAPIROSSI (Suzuki), 1:57.811
10. Mika KALLIO (Ducati), 1:57.994, crash
11. Chris VERMEULEN (Suzuki), 1:58.087
12. Niccolo CANEPA (Ducati), 1:58.208
13. Randy DE PUNIET (Honda), 1:58.298
14. James TOSELAND (Yamaha), 1:58.331
15. Marco MELANDRI (Kawasaki), 1:58.477
16. Michel FABRIZIO (Ducati), 1:58.680
17. Gabor TALMACSI (Honda), 1:58.749


250cc:

1. Marco SIMONCELLI (Gilera), 2:01.611
2. Hiroshi AOYAMA (Honda), 2:01.961
3. Hector BARBERA (Aprilia), 2:02.064
4. Alex DEBON (Aprilia), 2:02.386
5. Mike DI MEGLIO (Aprilia), 2:02.426
6. Roberto LOCATELLI (Gilera), 2:02.543
7. Mattia PASINI (Aprilia), 2:02.561
8. Alvaro BAUTISTA (Aprilia), 2:02.748
9. Raffaele DE ROSA (Honda), 2:02.768
10. Karel ABRAHAM (Aprilia), 2:02.811
11. Hector FAUBEL (Honda), 2:02.899
12. Ratthapark WILAIROT (Honda), 2:02.921
13. Thomas LUTHI (Aprilia), 2:02.932
14. Jules CLUZEL (Aprilia), 2:02.997
15. Lukas PESEK (Aprilia), 2:03.596


125cc:

1. Andrea IANNONE (Aprilia), 2:08.171
2. Nicolas TEROL (Aprilia), 2:08.484
3. Sandro CORTESE (Derbi), 2:08.507
4. Julian SIMON (Aprilia), 2:08.542
5. Bradley SMITH (Aprilia), 2:08.957
6. Stefan BRADL (Aprilia), 2:09.184
7. Sergio GADEA (Aprilia), 2:09.240
8. Pol ESPARGARO (Derbi), 2:09.418
9. Efren VAZQUEZ (Derbi), 2:09.434
10. Johann ZARCO (Aprilia), 2:09.462

(American Cameron Beaubier did not record a time during qualifying, but the factory Red Bull KTM rider is eligible to start the race because he has turned a lap time within 107% of the fastest rider during free practice, according to FIM.)




More, from a press release issued by Fiat Yamaha:

POLE POSITION HAT-TRICK FOR ROSSI IN BRNO, ANOTHER FRONT ROW FOR LORENZO

Valentino Rossi became the first rider since the advent of the one-tyre rule to dip under an existing pole position record in the Czech Republic today, taking his third consecutive pole position despite sliding off into the gravel trap with just a few minutes remaining. His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo qualified second, continuing his 100% front-row qualifying record for the season.

Lorenzo had ruled the standings in both previous sessions and it looked like being the same story again this afternoon, as the Mallorcan went straight to the top and then continued to improve his time around the undulating Brno circuit. Sitting just four thousandths of a second off Rossi's 2006 pole position record, Lorenzo looked likely to be the one to smash it but it was the World Champion who did so with a brilliant lap with eight minutes left on the clock, shaving 0.046 seconds off the time he set on the way to second place three years ago, back in the days of 990ccc engines.

The drama wasn't over however as Rossi, pushing hard with two minutes remaining, lost the front in the second sector and slid into the gravel, luckily emerging unscathed. Lorenzo made a last minute assault on the Italian's time but was caught in traffic and the 22-year-old had to be content with second position. The pair are joined on the front row by Dani Pedrosa, with Tech 3 Yamaha rider Colin Edwards putting in another strong performance to qualify in sixth.

Today sees the launch of the Fiat Yamaha Team's official new fan website, www.FiatYamahaTeam.it, where followers of the team can keep up to date with team news, view the latest photos, enter competitions, follow a live blog and learn more about the team and riders.


Valentino Rossi
Position: 1st Time: 1'56.145 Laps: 23

"Pole position is great, but the most important thing is that I'm okay after the crash. I have a bit of pain in my right thumb but that's all, so I think I've been quite lucky. I'll get it checked out at the Clinica Mobile later but I don't think it's anything bad. This weekend only one of the front tyres is working well for us, which means we only have four for the weekend, so we're putting quite a lot of stress on just a few tyres. I arrived to brake very deep and just lost the front, it was unlucky. Anyway, we did a great job in the session and being on pole again is important. We have a good race pace and I think it's possible to be competitive tomorrow."


Jorge Lorenzo
Position: 2nd Time: 1'56.195 Laps: 26

"This morning we tried the softer Bridgestone tyre but I didn't feel so good on it. This afternoon we gave it another chance but again it didn't seem to work so well, so we decided to just concentrate on the harder tyre. I had a very strong pace and like yesterday I felt very comfortable on the bike, but I couldn't quite get the pole position today. Being on the front row is always important though and we've reached this target; we know that we're very fast. Everyone is excited and motivated as usual and we're confident that we have the race set-up to allow us to challenge tomorrow."


David Brivio
Team Manager

"We're in pole but Valentino's crash was unfortunate, on a lap that might have been even faster! The most important thing is that he is okay, which is a big relief for us all. By the end of the session we'd found a good setting and it looks like tomorrow could be another big battle, let's hope we're a part of it! Lorenzo and Pedrosa are very motivated and look very strong so let's see what happens."


Daniele Romagnoli
Team Manager

"It's very good to start from the front row again and we're happy about this. Unfortunately today we didn't improve our lap time on the soft tyres and so we decided to do the last minute 'time-attack' on race tyres, then Jorge also encountered some traffic on his final lap. Anyway we are positive for the race because our pace today was pretty fast, we're just looking at one or two small areas which we think we can improve for the race."




More, from a press release issued by KTM:

Disappointing qualifying for Red Bull KTM team at Brno

A crash in the final 10 minutes of qualifying on the Brno circuit in Czech Republic left Red Bull KTM Moto Sport rider Marc Marquez unable to finish the vital last minutes and back in the second half of the grid for Sunday's 125 cc GP on the traditional racing circuit.

The tail of Marquez's KTM 125 RR machine was damaged in the crash and while he was able to ride it back to the pits there was not enough time to carry out the necessary repairs before the end of the session.

When the 16-year old factory rider hit the gravel with just six or seven minutes to go in qualifying it was the third of a trio of misfortunes that plagued the team on Saturday. Cameron Beaubier the team's second factory rider also crashed in the morning session and doctors diagnosed a "detached collarbone" putting him out of contention until his home race in Indianapolis at the end of the month.

Marc, who has been well in the running for his first victory this season, already had bad luck in the morning session when he had a huge high side after an engine seizure, according to the team's Technical Director Harald Bartol. Understandably the young Spaniard was bitterly disappointed to not be able to contest the vital final 10 minutes of the qualifying session.

Marc Marquez: "Today was a really terrible day. I had a big crash in the first lap this morning when my engine broke so we couldn't try out our settings. I didn't have a feeling for my bike in the first part of qualifying this afternoon. Then I lost the front and crashed again when I was pushing hard to get a good lap in for tomorrow's race. Luckily I'm ok. Tomorrow, we will try to make a good start and work our way up to the front."

Cameron Beaubier: "What should I say? I'm irritated about what happened and it was really bad luck but that's racing, I guess. We were working on the chassis set up and I felt good on that lap. I was comfortable pushing for a last fast lap, but than I was a bit too early on the gas at the corner exit and high-sided. Now the doctors say I have a collarbone detachment. They told me to stay calm and quiet next week and then I should be okay to race in Indianapolis in two weeks."




More, from a press release issued by Rizla Suzuki:

Unlucky third row for Capirossi in Brno Grand Prix qualifying

Loris Capirossi will start tomorrow's Czech Republic Grand Prix from the third row of the grid after qualifying in ninth place following a difficult session at Brno today.

Capirossi (1'57.811, 21 laps) suffered a combination of difficulties during this afternoon's session that hampered his quest for higher place start in tomorrow's race. Capirossi will be working with his crew this evening as the team try to find a solution to enable the Italian to battle for a competitive result on Sunday.

Chris Vermeulen (P11, 1'58.087, 26 laps) will start on the row behind his team-mate in tomorrow's 22-lap race. He was one of the busiest riders on track this afternoon as he completed 26 laps of the 5.403m Brno circuit. Vermeulen made big improvements throughout the hour-long session and was pleased with his work at the end, although he was also sure there is more to come.

Today's qualifying was held in warm and sunny conditions with track temperatures reaching 42ºC. World Championship leader Valentino Rossi set the fastest time and will start from pole position on his factory Yamaha. The race gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).

Loris Capirossi:

"Today has been a bit strange for us because this morning we tried to sort out a good engine delivery and setting, and we found a good combination. We started this afternoon with the same bike but we had an electronic problem on the first couple of times I went out. We tried to fix it and on the third run it seemed ok, but when I put in a softer tyre to try to get a better lap-time the bike just didn't work right and I had a lot of vibration. I went into the pits to try and get a better time on the second bike, but it was too late and I missed out on a higher position. Our target was for a minimum second row start and we had the potential for that, but we lost something in the afternoon. We need to find out what happened because it is not easy to understand. The new engine is certainly better and I thank Suzuki for that. Our target for tomorrow is really high, if we can find out what caused the problems today!"

Chris Vermeulen:

"Today was a lot better - especially in qualifying. We have struggled with rear grip here this weekend and the engineers made some big changes this afternoon. One of the directions we took was very good and it got some weight on to the rear and gave me a lot more grip. It was the most comfortable I've been on the bike for the last three or four races, so that was a really good job by everyone to sort that out. Today we have gone the fastest we have ever done on race tyres at Brno, so that is also a good sign. The race will still be tough from the third row, but we're going to try something else in warm-up tomorrow morning in the same direction and see if we can help the bike a bit more."

Paul Denning - Team Manager:

"I think Loris has done well to be as positive as possible about the qualifying session, because to be quite truthful it was a bit of a disaster and we had some problems. It was impossible for Loris to get near his - or the bike's - potential. He did a 57.3 lap-time this morning on 20-lap tyres, so to only do 57.8 in qualifying mode shows we clearly had problems. He was capable of a second row start today and that's where we should have been. The good news is that he is pumped for tomorrow and if he can get away well from the third row there is still the chance of a good result.

"Chris took a step in confidence during qualifying and was a lot happier with the GSV-R than he has been all weekend; he's also starting to flow around the track a lot better. At the end though, it's not where he wants to be on the grid, but I think Chris is now in a better frame of mind for the race and he will be going for it tomorrow."




More, from a press release issued by Monster Yamaha Tech 3:

Edwards battles to second row, Toseland 14th in Brno

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Colin Edwards produced a gritty qualifying performance this afternoon to equal his best grid position of the season at a hot and sunny Brno.

Despite being less than 100 per cent fit after he needed treatment for a swollen neck gland, the Texan secured his eighth top six grid position of the season in preparation for round 11 of the 2009 MotoGP world championship tomorrow. Edwards clocked a best time of 1.56.964 on his last lap, the 35-year-old finishing less than 0.5s from claiming his first front row start of the season. Working closely with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew, front-end changes to improve turning on his YZR-M1 machine have bolstered Edwards' hopes of claiming a maiden top six finish in the Czech Republic MotoGP.

British rider James Toseland is confident he can challenge for a top ten position in tomorrow's 22-lap race. He will start from the fifth row of the grid having missed out on a top ten grid position by less than 0.4s. Toseland clocked a best time of 1.58.331 and the 28-year-old will focus on improving rear grip on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine as he looks for a fourth top ten finish in five races.

Colin Edwards 5th 1.56.954 - 23 laps

"I'm pretty happy considering how I felt today. The last couple of days, one of the glands in my neck was pretty badly swollen up, so I was given some medicine to help it. But the doctor told me to make sure I had a full stomach when I took it. But this morning I only had a bowl of cereal and then I took the medicine. And after that I felt awful. After practice this morning I was white as a sheet and not feeling great at all. My stomach and head were feeling pretty rough and I just felt way short of my best for the rest of the day. So considering that I'm happy to have qualified fifth. I'd say Dani Pedrosa's time was reachable in third but it would have taken a great lap to do that, and I'm not sure I had it in me physically today. I've been going great all weekend and my team have done a phenomenal job. We put some more weight on the front that has really helped get the bike to turn and that's crucial at this track. I've never had a top six at this track but hopefully I'll change that tomorrow and hopefully I'll be feeling better."

James Toseland 14th 1.58.331- 22 laps

"Obviously I'm not happy to be down in 14th and being that far back is going to make it a tough race. I'm fru strated because we changed the bike for the last soft tyre and I didn't have the rear grip I needed to push for a better time. I had a lot of wheelspin with the final soft tyre so I couldn't really push and I've given myself a hard job for the race. We'll try and make the bike more balanced for the race tomorrow because at the moment I don't have enough rear grip. I've qualified outside of the top ten a couple of times before this season and been able to fight my back into the top ten during the race. So I'm hoping to be able to do the same tomorrow."




More, from a press release issued by Bridgestone:

Rossi pole on harder front and softer rear Bridgestone slicks

Round 11: Czech Republic GP Qualifying
Automotodrom Brno, Saturday 15 August 2009

Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front Hard, Extra hard.
Rear Medium, Hard

Using the harder front and the softer rear Bridgestone slicks to set his fastest lap, Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi claimed his fifth pole position of the season and his third consecutively from the last three races. This season there are no qualifying tyres, and so the field set their qualifying times on Bridgestone's race tyres.

Rossi's pole time was quicker than the fastest pole time at the Brno circuit, set by the Italian in 2006 when the field were using super-sticky qualifying tyres designed to last just a few laps, indicating the improvements in Bridgestone's tyre technology and the circuit's resurfaced tarmac alike. As the temperature was hotter than yesterday, the extra hard compound front Bridgestone slicks were the favoured choice for their increased durability in the heat and on Brno's abrasive tarmac.

The softer rear option was the favoured choice for qualifying, although Fiat Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo demonstrated that the hard rear tyre performed equally well and thus, with its improved durability, it is likely to be the favoured choice for the race. Having topped the timesheets for most of the session, Lorenzo missed out on pole by just 0.05seconds and will start tomorrow's race from second.

The Spaniard has started every race this season, his first in MotoGP on Bridgestone tyres, from the front row. Also using the harder rear Bridgestone slick on his fastest lap, Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa was third fastest to complete tomorrow's front row and secure his fifth top-three start of the season.

Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development

"The lap-time difference between the two slick tyre compounds was not so significant today because the track temperature was at a point at which both options performed equally well not too hot for the softer tyres and sufficiently warm for the harder spec. Valentino was fastest using a harder front and softer rear, whereas Jorge and Dani were second and third using a harder rear so this shows that the two compounds have a degree of crossover.

"Based on this, tomorrow we can expect that the harder compound option will be the best choice for the race for both front and rear as the performance between softer and harder is very similar but the harder spec will give better durability over the race distance."

Top ten from qualifying (Saturday 13:55 14:55 GMT+2)
Pos Rider Team Fastest lap Gap Compounds Front, Rear

1 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team 1m56.145s Extra hard, Medium
2 Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha Team 1m56.195s +0.050s Extra hard, Hard
3 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1m56.528s +0.383s Extra hard, Hard
4 Toni Elias San Carlo Honda Gresini 1m56.817s +0.672s Extra hard, Medium
5 Colin Edwards Monster Yamaha Tech3 1m56.954s +0.809s Extra hard, Medium
6 Andrea Dovizioso Repsol Honda Team 1m57.108s +0.963s Extra hard, Medium
7 Alex de Angelis San Carlo Honda Gresini 1m57.775s +1.630s Extra hard, Medium
8 Nicky Hayden Ducati Team 1m57.803s +1.658s Extra hard, Medium
9 Loris Capirossi Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m57.811s +1.666s Extra hard, Hard
10 Mika Kallio Ducati Team 1m57.994s +1.849s Extra hard, Medium

Weather: Dry. Ambient 24°C; Track 42-44°C ( Bridgestone measurement)




More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

BRNO FRONT ROW FOR PEDROSA, DOVIZIOSO SIXTH

Dani Pedrosa today fired his Repsol Honda RC212V onto the front row of the grid for tomorrow's Grand Prix of the Czech Republic while his team-mate, Andrea Dovizioso, will start directly behind Pedrosa after the Italian finished in sixth position in this afternoon's qualifying session at the beautiful Brno circuit.

With unbroken sunshine once again providing a welcome contrast to the erratic weather at the previous race in Britain, the Repsol Honda riders were able to take maximum advantage of two dry sessions today to hone their machine set-ups ahead of tomorrow's 22-lap race.

Pedrosa looked menacingly quick in the morning practice and finished in a close second place, just 0.131s from the fastest time. He was quickest early in the afternoon session, setting a best lap of 1m56.528s which was well inside the circuit race lap record. Traffic in the final moments of qualifying when the riders traditionally set there quickest time prevented Pedrosa from challenging for pole position, but the Spaniard was satisfied to get on the front row and give himself an excellent chance of a clean getaway tomorrow.

Dovizioso's sixth place this afternoon saw him move to within a second of the pole position time and translates into a second row start. After his maiden MotoGP victory at the last race, Dovizioso was hoping to be a little closer to pole today but riding with the new swing-arm in his RC212V he made significant progress this afternoon to bring his lap time down to 1m 57.108s, which was also inside the existing lap record of 1m57.199s. With more improvements in the
20-minute warm-up tomorrow, Dovizioso will be intent on getting away with the leaders when the lights go out.

Pole position today was taken by Valentino Rossi followed by Jorge Lorenzo, Pedrosa and then the Gresini Honda of Toni Elias in fourth. Tomorrow's race, which again promises a close battle at the front, begins at 14.00 local time.


DANI PEDROSA

"I'm happy enough with today because we're on the front row and that's the most important thing to achieve in qualifying. I think I could have gone even quicker at the end of the session, but on my final run lap I had a lot of traffic and I had to do two slow laps until I found a clear track. Still, I think we had some more potential to go faster so this is positive. For tomorrow we still have to improve the set-up and achieve a little more consistency in our lap times so that I can run at the front. I like this circuit and I've had some good results here previously, so I hope I can make a quick start and fight for the win tomorrow."


ANDREA DOVIZIOSO

"During the qualifying session we improved the race pace and reduced the gap to the leaders by about four tenths, so this is a positive move. We were further away than that yesterday and this morning so we're going in the right direction. We are still need to go quicker if we want to fight for the lead in the race tomorrow so me and the engineers will be working on a few set-up areas that will, hopefully, give us an extra edge and allow us to compete at the front. In terms of the tyre choice we'll be going for the hard compound Bridgestones. There's only a small difference between the compounds but the hard tyre is the choice - no question. We'll aim to get the most of the warm-up session and give it everything in the race."


KAZUHIKO YAMANO - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER

"Our positions after qualifying - on the front and the second rows - are fine and both Dani and Andrea have the chance to get to the front at the beginning of tomorrow's race. We have many options here with regard to set-up and the crews will be working this evening to make the final adjustments, which we will test further in the warm-up tomorrow morning. The Repsol Honda Team is working well and our only target is to win. I know both riders will be fighting for that result in the race."




More, from a press release issued by Marlboro Ducati:

TOP TEN POSITIONS FOR BOTH DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM RIDERS AT BRNO

Nicky Hayden continued to make gradual improvements to both machine set-up and overall classification today as he posted the eighth fastest time in qualifying practice for tomorrow's Czech Republic Grand Prix. The American held on to a third row spot his second best grid position of the season - despite an intense finale to the session, which saw his stand-in team-mate Mika Kallio secure tenth place for his Ducati Marlboro Team debut despite a late crash while he was pushing for a even faster lap.

NICKY HAYDEN (Ducati Marlboro Team) (8th; 1'57.803)
"I was hoping to go faster than that but qualifying has been a weak point for us this year and I always seem to struggle to make a significant improvement when everybody else is pushing for times right at the end. Considering that I'm pleased that I was able to keep improving right to the end and hang on to what is a decent position for us compared to a lot of our qualifying results so far this season. The team have done a good job here. We've made some big changes to the geometry here and we're improving. It isn't quite showing in the lap time yet but we keep getting faster and if we can take another step forward tomorrow we can have a good race. The top three are going so quick this weekend it's unbelievable but nonetheless we've done a good job so far and we're looking to make more improvements in the warm-up and in the race."

MIKA KALLIO (Ducati Marlboro Team) (10th; 1'57.994)
"Up until the crash things were going really well and without it I think we could have qualified at least in seventh place, which we were only two tenths off. I take the blame for the crash but I didn't really do anything different and the front washed away. We've been experimenting with different suspension angles on the two bikes and like yesterday they both have their strengths and weaknesses that we need to look at tonight and make some decisions about. We improved the situation with the rear grip on the left side but it seems we are still struggling to get heat into the tyre so this also needs more work in the warm-up. Anyway, my grid position is not what we hoped for but it's not bad and I equalled my best lap today on a rear tyre with twenty laps on it, so the signs are promising for the race tomorrow. I'm excited and really looking forward to the race."

Circuit Record: Casey Stoner (Ducati - 2008), 1'57.199 - 165.963 km/h
Best Pole: Valentino Rossi (2009 - Yamaha), 1'56.145 - 167.469 km/h
Circuit length: 5.403km
MotoGP Race 2009: 22 laps (118.866 km)
MotoGP Schedule 2009: 14:00 CET




More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda:

DE PUNIET CLAIMS BRAVE 13th AT CEZH REP. GP QUALIFYING

Brno, 15 August: Qualifying for the Czech Repulic Grand Prix was run in hot conditions today with ambience temperature of 27°C and the LCR Honda MotoGP racer Randy De Puniet again dug deep into his reserves to overcome the pain he is suffering to record the 13th fastest time of the day (1'58.298).



The second day of practices at the 5.403 Km race track was very tough for De Puniet who was not able to ride at 100 per cent pace as he is still recovering from the left ankle surgery. The 28-year-old received a pain-killing injection prior to this afternoon's session struggling to get the most out of his machine on qualifiers but remains determined to pursue the best possible result here in tomorrow's 22-lap race.


De Puniet 13th 1'58.298

De Puniet 13th: "Well... it's extremely tough for me but I am satisfied about my performance. I am still walking on crutches but when I come out I absolutely want to do the best despite my conditions. The Team is doing an excellent job to adjust the bike as I can't give them any specific set-up information. My foot is getting better but it aches so much! We are really pleased about our pace and everyday is a step closer to making a full recover. It won't be easy to maintain the rhythm for 22 laps but we have the potential to score some points".




More, from a press release issued by Honda:

PEDROSA ON FRONT ROW AND IN THE FIGHT AT BRNO

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) will start tomorrow's Czech Grand Prix from the front row of the grid after a strong run in this afternoon's sun-soaked qualifying session at Brno. The Spaniard was third fastest in the outing, for his fifth front-row start this year, just behind Yamaha duo Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.

Pedrosa may have been faster if he hadn't found some traffic at the most crucial stage of the session and is convinced he will be able to fight for the win if his crew can fine tune his set-up before morning warm-up. Most of all, Pedrosa is looking for more consistency in his lap times. His RC212V is certainly performing well here, heading the top speed charts at 301.8km/h.

Compatriot Toni Elias (San Carlo Honda Gresini) put in a sterling performance to lead the second row, less than three tenths slower than Pedrosa. Elias has shown a steady and marked improvement in recent races, enough to make him confident of a good result here. Yesterday he worked hard on honing his RCV's electronics set-up for this track, yielding excellent results which allowed him to up his pace today.

British GP winner Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) completes the second row in sixth place, having reduced the gap between himself and the leaders in the qualifying session. Most importantly the Italian has improved his race pace and is sure he can be faster in the race if a few overnight tweaks give him more performance.

Like team-mate Elias, Alex De Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini) has been steadily building speed in recent outings and the San Marino rider was in excellent form once again today, taking seventh place immediately behind Dovizioso. During the session De Angelis ran into some difficulties with his machine running wide through the corners, but a clever set-up adjustment in the final few minutes of the hour-long outing cured the problem.

Unlucky Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) was 13th fastest, riding in some discomfort after breaking bones in his left ankle last Saturday. The Frenchman was riding a motocross training session when he fell and sustained the injury. He had the damaged bones screwed to allow him to ride here and underwent pain-killing injections before going out to qualify. In the circumstances, 13th place, just 2.1 seconds off pole position, is a brave result.

Thousands of Hungarian fans flocked into the Brno circuit this morning to cheer on Gabor Talmacsi (Scot Honda) in his first MotoGP qualifying session in eastern Europe. The former 125 World Champion ended the day 17th, 2.6 seconds off Rossi's pole time, working hard with his crew to find more grip to cure an understeer problem.

Current 250 World Championship leader Hiroshi Aoyama (Scot Honda) qualified a brilliant second fastest in the 250 class, even though the Japanese thought he had done enough to secure pole position. Aoyama had been fastest with a minute to go, before reigning 250 World Champion Marco Simoncelli (Gilera) bettered him by just three tenths. Nonetheless, Aoyama, who has already won three races this year, believes he can aim for another big points haul tomorrow, especially if his crew can make improvements overnight.

Young team-mate Raffaele De Rosa (Scot Honda) also impressed, claiming ninth spot on the grid, missing out on a second row start by just 0.020 seconds. De Rosa worked hard throughout practice and qualifying to improve grip and corner-entry performance.

Hector Faubel (Valencia CF-Honda SAG) is looking forward to showing his real pace in tomorrow's race after his attempts to get a better grid position were foiled by slower riders in the final moments of qualifying. The Spaniard's team-mate Ratthapark Wilairot (Thai Honda PTT-SAG) found a good pace after making adjustments to his engine set-up this afternoon, ending qualifying immediately behind team-mate Faubel. The Thai rider is confident he can run a good pace tomorrow.

Team-mates Shoya Tomizawa (Team CIP Honda) and Valentin Debise (Team CIP Honda) are both Brno first-timers; this extra-wide track always taking a while to learn. Tomizawa crashed this morning, losing half the session, but still managed to qualify 16th fastest. Debise was 20th despite having some difficulties with chatter. Bastien Chesaux (Racing Team Germany Honda) was 21st. The youngster was faster in this morning's session and is now working on a set-up that will allow him to find more speed in the afternoon heat.


HONDA MotoGP RIDER LAP TIMES AND QUOTES

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 3rd 1m 56.528s.
"I'm happy enough with today because we're on the front row and that's the most important thing to achieve in qualifying. I think I could have gone even quicker at the end of the session, but on my final run lap I had a lot of traffic and I had to do two slow laps until I found a clear track. Still, I think we had some more potential to go faster so this is positive. For tomorrow we still have to improve the set-up and achieve a little more consistency in our lap times so that I can run at the front. I like this circuit and I've had some good results here previously, so I hope I can make a quick start and fight for the win tomorrow."

Toni Elias, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 4th 1m 56.817s.
"We've been strong in every session, always among the top six and to have qualified fourth, we can't ask for much more. We worked hard to solve the problems we had yesterday and now the objective is to get a good start and try and follow the lead group. It is going to be difficult because the top three are all fast riders on top material but you never know what can happen in racing. The important thing from our point of view is that we're close. We have been to two tracks recently in Donington and Sachsenring that I don't like but I love it here and it shows. Hopefully it will show in the race tomorrow too!"

Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda: 6th 1m 57.108s.
"During the qualifying session we improved the race pace and reduced the gap to the leaders by about four tenths, so this is a positive move. We were further away than that yesterday and this morning so we're going in the right direction. We still need to go quicker if we want to fight for the lead in the race tomorrow so me and the engineers will be working on a few set-up areas that will, hopefully, give us an extra edge and allow us to compete at the front. In terms of the tyre choice we'll be going for the hard compound Bridgestones. There's only a small difference between the compounds but the hard tyre is the choice no question. We'll aim to get the most of the warm-up session and give it everything in the race."

Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 7th 1m 57.775s.
"I'm really pleased because we had some problems during the session getting the bike to hold its line through the corners it kept wanting to run wide but we found a solution in the final few minutes without having to dramatically alter the general balance of the bike. I felt I could go faster and that proved to be the case and now I think we have even more room for improvement before tomorrow. I think at any racetrack a position inside the top eight or even ten is a good result for us and that is the target for tomorrow, although the most important thing is to bring it home in the points."

Randy de Puniet, LCR Honda: 13th 1m 58.298s.
"Well... it's extremely tough for me but I am satisfied about my performance. I am still walking on crutches but when I come out on the track I absolutely want to do the best despite my condition. The team is doing an excellent job to adjust the bike as I can't give them any specific set-up information. My foot is getting better but it aches so much! We are really pleased about our pace and every day is a step closer to making a full recover. I won't be easy to maintain my best rhythm for 22 laps but we have the potential to score some points."

Gabor Talmacsi, Scot Honda: 17th 1m 58.749s.
"I expected something more. The point is that we are experiencing the same lack of grip we had in the previous race. I feel I can go faster, but when I open the throttle the bike goes wide and off the best line, where there is less grip.
There are are eight riders within seven tenths of each other, so there's not much of a gap between me and the guys in tenth and 11th. We must find a solution to improve our set-up. My crew will analyze the data; then we will test something different tomorrow morning, in the warm-up."


HONDA 250cc RIDER LAP TIMES AND QUOTES

Hiroshi Aoyama, Scot Honda: 2nd 2m 01.961s.
"When I saw my lap time on the screens at the end of the qualifying, while slowing down to ride back to the garage, I told to myself: Okay, I did it. Then, someone else was three tenths faster than me... Anyway, second on the grid is an excellent result. The package, the set-up and the tyres are good. We want to improve the pace a bit, and we're going to test some solutions tomorrow morning, during warm-up. Tomorrow it will be one of those races in which everything is possible."

Raffaele De Rosa (Scot Honda: 9th 2m 07.768s.
"Yesterday my pace was not what I wanted to be we experienced a problem with the tyres. Today we have been able to solve it, and at the same time we found how to improve the way we enter the corners. We worked during this session thinking more to the race than to the grid, so I'm quite confident for tomorrow."

Hector Faubel, Valencia CF-Honda SAG: 11th 2m 02.899s.
"During all the practices I had no big problems with the bike, we only changed the final drive ratio and we have found the best set-up. During the qualiyfing session the most important time was the last five minutes when I found a lot of traffic. Once I had got passed those guys and found some clear track it was too late to do a good time, but anyway, we are running a good pace, because Debon is only five tenths ahead. Everyone is going fast here and the times are very close. Tomorrow should be a really exciting race and I will do my best."

Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT-SAG: 12th - 2m 02.921s.
"The bike is working good. At the start of qualifying we had a few issues but we fixed them the first time I came into the pits, making some adjustments to the engine settings. After that change I started to feel really confidet with the bike in the corners; I could open the throttle quicker than before. I didn't get a great grid position but I'm happy enough because I have a good race pace and we can use that to my advantage in the race."

Shoya Tomizawa, Team CIP Honda: 16th 2m 03.951s.
"I crashed the first lap out this morning, which wasn't very good. We lost 25 minutes fixing the bike, then when I went out again things went quite well. This afternoon we didn't seem to have so much grip, I was pushing the front. I think we are missing a bit of bike balance, so we will work on the front end set-up for tomorrow."

Valentin Debise, Team CIP Honda: 20th 2m 06.571s.
"This is my first time here and I'm having some difficulties with chatter. It's okay when I've got grip but when we have less grip then I have the chatter. I think maybe I need to adjust my riding position a little, so I am not hanging off so much."

Bastien Chesaux, Racing Team Germany Honda: 21st 2m 07.088s.
"This morning everything was working really well, but this afternoon things weren't so good. I fell off early in the session and after that we struggled a bit, even though I was trying very hard. I think the higher track temperature gave us some issues, mainly with the rear tyre. W must keep working and solve the problem for tomorrow."




More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing Team:

BEST QUALIFYING OF THE SEASON FOR CANEPA WHO WILL START FROM FOURTH ROW. FABRIZIO SIXTEENTH

Intense day of work for the Pramac Racing riders Niccolò Canepa and Michel Fabrizio. Niccolò has been really constant during qualifying session reaching the top ten half way through the session. For only a few tenths of a second he didn't make it to remain until the end and he finished in twelfth position. Like him also Fabrizio made it to sensibly improve his best lap times today conquering the sixteenth position. The Roman rider obtained really interesting lap times even if this is for him the first time on the Pramac Racing Desmosedici GP9 Sat. Tomorrow morning twenty minutes of warm up to make the last modifications on the bike to result competitive during the Czech Republic GP that will start tomorrow at 2pm local time.

Marco Rigamonti - Niccolò Canepa Track engineer

"I would say a positive day for us. Niccolò conquered his best qualifying position of the season and this demonstrates he is getting better at every race. He is very concentrated and he is riding quite clean: we are trustful that tomorrow he will be able to have a good race. Also Michel in the other side of the garage has improved a lot and we are really happy for him."

Niccolò Canepa - Pramac Racing rider - 12th in 1'58.208

"I am very happy on how things went today. In both sessions we have made it to be competitive maintaining good positions. I am only two tenth of a second from Mika and four from Nicky who is the fastest Ducati rider today. Apart the first five or six riders I believe we can compete with every other rider tomorrow in the race."

Michel Fabrizio - Pramac Racing rider - 16th in 1'58.680

"We have sensibly improve our lap times today. For sure is not easy to get to know and adjust a bike in only three hours of work, but we have done our best and tomorrow in the race we will try to obtain a good result. We have made it to adjust a bit the bike and tomorrow morning in the twenty minutes warm up we will try to make the final modifications on the bike to result even more competitive in the race."




More, from a press release issued by Dorna Communications:

Valentino Rossi survived a late crash during qualifying at the Cardion ab Czech Republic Grand Prix to take his fifth pole position of the season, in clear and sunny conditions at the undulating Brno track.

At one of his favourite venues on the calendar Rossi took his Yamaha M1 round the circuit in 1'56.145 on the 21st of his 23 laps after a battle for supremacy with his team-mate and closest World Championship rival Jorge Lorenzo who trails him by 25 points in the standings and was 0.05s behind the Italian in this session.

Lorenzo has looked good throughout the weekend and will be confident of pushing Rossi hard in Sunday's race. Perhaps the Spaniard will take heart from Rossi's late crash as he seeks to keep the pressure on from the other side of the Fiat Yamaha pit-box.

In the absence of Casey Stoner, who is on sick leave for three rounds, Dani Pedrosa could be the biggest threat to Rossi and Lorenzo, with the talented Repsol Honda rider having qualified in third place, just under four tenths down on Rossi.

Toni Elías, meanwhile, reacted well to the news that he will not be riding for the San Carlo Honda Gresini team next year, placing himself at the front of the second row on his RC212V.

With Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) and Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini) qualifying fifth to seventh respectively the top seven was dominated by Yamaha and Honda.

De Angelis will be joined on the third row by Ducati's Nicky Hayden and Suzuki's Loris Capirossi, who survived a scary moment to qualify ninth. There was a crash for temporary factory Ducati stand-in Mika Kallio who placed tenth, whilst Randy de Puniet ran off track at one stage and qualified 13th.


250cc

World Champion Marco Simoncelli stepped up his pace to take his third pole of the year in the 250cc class, with the Metis Gilera man holding off a late challenge from the pretender to his crown, Hiroshi Aoyama.

The Italian had already looked set for his third pole of the year in the final stages of the session when Scot Racing's championship leader Aoyama laid down a time off 2'01.961 to take provisional pole. Nonetheless Simoncelli fought back on his final lap, riding around Alex Debon (Aeropuerto-Castello-Blusens) to improve on Aoyama's best by 0.35s.

Héctor Barberá has been in good form so far this weekend and in great form in recent qualifying sessions but he could not add to his three poles from the last four GPs as he qualified in third place for the Pepe World Team, 0.453s behind Simoncelli and just ahead of Debon who completed the front row.

The second row will comprise Mike di Meglio (Mapfre Aspar), Roberto Locatelli (Metis Gilera), Mattia Pasini (Team Toth Aprilia) and an off-colour Álvaro Bautista (Mapfre Aspar Team), who was more than a second off Simoncelli's pace and crashed without consequence with less than four minutes remaining.


125cc

Ongetta Team ISPA rider Andrea Iannone sent out a reminder of his talent to the rest of the 125cc grid with pole position the smaller category.

The young Italian rider's 2'08.171s time on the 12th of his 14th laps was enough to put him at the head of the grid in front of second fastest competitor Nico Terol (Jack & Jones Team) who lapped 0.3s behind him.

The front row of the grid for the tenth 125cc race of the year is completed by German rider Sandro Cortese (Ajo Interwetten) and World Championship leader Julián Simón (Bancaja Aspar), that pair going round with a similar pace to Terol's.

Simón's British team-mate Bradley Smith will start in fifth place, having lapped 0.786s down on Iannone, and the Oxfordshire teenager is to be joined by Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing), Aspar colleague Sergio Gadea and Pol Espargaró (Derbi Racing Team) on row two.

A disappointing session for Marc Márquez (Red Bull KTM) saw him qualify down in 20th place having crashed towards the end of QP, whilst the young Spaniard's team-mate Cameron Beaubier misses Sunday's race due to the fractured left collarbone which he sustained on Saturday morning.