MotoGP > MotoGP 2006 Round 12: Czech Republic GP > Qualifying
MotoGPCzech RepublicAugust 19, 2006
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 12
Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno Qualifying

Rocking Roberts Powers Onto Front Row Again

Race Results >>

As MotoGP geared up for the big run-in to the end of the end of the season, final qualifying here at Brno produced a grid that promises a pulsating race here tomorrow. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) took pole, Loris Capirossi (Ducati) lines up alongside him as second fastest man, with Kenny Roberts (Roberts KR211V) completing the front row.



Kenny ROBERTS JNR(KR Honda)


Nicky HAYDEN(Repsol Honda Team)

In dry conditions with track temperature at 39-degrees and ambient at a comfortable 25-degrees, riders embarked on this final hour of timed qualifying. It was Capirossi who showed the way from the outset by topping the table for the first half of the session.

His lap of 1m 57.713s was merely an exploratory maker before he was forced to up the pace after John Hopkins (Suzuki) made an early bid for pole on qualifying rubber to record a lap of 1m 57.006s. This time was nearly half a second faster than Sete Gibernau's 2005 pole time, but only for a few brief moments.

While times were tumbling at the top, eventual front row man Kenny Roberts was enduring fuel trouble on his stuttering RC211V-powered KR machine. These would be remedied in time for him to record his fourth front row performance of the season and his third consecutive visit to the front line of the grid.

Capirossi scorched to a 1m 56.441s lap with 20 minutes to go to obliterate Hopkins's time and it began to look as if the Italian would see out the session at the top of the tree with that new time, the fastest ever lap (for a time) of this imposing Czech track.

Bridgestone riders began to use their sticky qualifying rubber earlier than the Michelin men, but it was only Capirossi and Hopkins that seemed able to make the most of the Japanese firm's tyres. With ten minutes to go Capirossi held pole and Hopkins lay fourth on the grid.

Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) was sitting comfortably in second with Rossi lurking in third, while Marco Melandri (Fortuna Honda RC211V) was sixth fastest behind Shinya Nakano (Kawasaki) in fifth. As the pace got hotter Marco would suffer, but his team-mate, the rejuvenated Toni Elias (Fortuna Honda RC211V), fully fit after his Assen shoulder injury, would hit form, storming onto the second row with a time just 0.684 seconds off the eventual pole time.

With two minutes to go, the order was Capirossi, Hayden, Rossi at the sharp end of the grid. Then with a final flurry of qualifying tyres, the last struggle for grid supremacy began. Casey Stoner (LCR Honda RC211V) only just ran out of time for a second bite at a flying lap as the clock hit zero and had to be content with 12th on the grid. But Rossi crossed the line in time for another stab at pole.

He made it with a scorching lap of 1m 56.191s - a quarter of a second faster than Capirossi's best. Then it was Roberts' turn to deprive Nicky of what would have been his third front row start of the year as he stole third from the World Championship points leader. But Nicky has shown this year, he only needs to be among the top six to figure strongly in races.

Roberts said, "If I'm not fighting for the win, it automatically means we need to make the bike better. We've been within ten seconds of so of the leader over the last few races, and we need to shrink that gap. We had a fuel supply problem with a new shorter tank we're using today. We'll fix that problem tonight and with this package, our race pace should be strong. If you'd asked me this morning, I'd have said we should be good for the top six. Now, I believe we should be OK for the podium."

"I think that was the best session we've had all weekend as far as consistency is concerned," said Nicky. "The front row would have been nice but I feel like my guys have done a really good job and we've made some good progress - we found a nice direction so we'll see how it goes tomorrow. I'm looking forward to race day and getting back in the ring with the boys. I feel like we've got a decent bike right now. If we can just tweak the bike and rider a little we should go OK."

Tony Elias said, "I am very happy with this result. After a good start to the season, we had a series of races which were made difficult by injury. But this is the result of a lot of hard work by the team. There is a great spirit in the team and I want to thank everyone for their effort. It will be important to make a good start tomorrow and try to stay with the lead group."

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC211V), ninth fastest, said, "In the morning we did a good job and improved a lot from yesterday, and the grip from the track was better too which helped. Also we made a good step on the machine set-up. This afternoon we had some problems finalising the gear ratios and I had to swap machines during practice, so I lost some time there. The bike set-up is not so bad but I think we can still improve it. Let's see what the weather does for the race - I hope it stays dry."

Marco, 11th on row four, said, "In the two practice sessions I was able to set a good race pace and that means I can look forward confidently to the race. Unfortunately I was not able to get the best out of the qualifying tyres and therefore I wasn't able to get the full potential out of the RC211V. I am not too disappointed by eleventh position as i think I have found a good race rhythm. It will be important to make a good start tomorrow and try to make up positions and get to the lead group. The forecasts are saying there will be rain but I hope to have a dry race."

Casey, in 12th, said, "I made a good step forward today and found a much better set-up and feeling for this track. This makes me confident for the race and even though I haven't raced a MotoGP bike here there are some good passing spots. In qualifying I had the option of two qualifying tyres and I did the time I thought I could do, although it may have been quicker if I had been able to run my final lap. In race trim the lap times are fast and consistent although I would still like a little more feeling from the front-end."

Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta Honda RC211V) could only manage 15th, more than two seconds adrift of the pole time. He said, "Today's plan was to decide the tyre choice between the two we tested this morning. But I didn't get the same feeling during the qualifying session. The problem was corner-entries where I started to struggle. We have to get to the bottom of the problems by tomorrow morning."

In the 250cc class Jorge Lorenzo (Aprilia) grabbed his seventh pole of the season with a lap of 2m 02.292s. The indomitable Andrea Dovizioso (Humangest Racing Honda RS250RW) was second fastest, with Hiro Aoyama (KTM) third quickest, with Hector Barbera (Aprilia) completing the front row.

Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol Honda RS250RW) heads the second row of the grid, 1.478 seconds off the pole time, while Aleix Espargaro (Würth Honda RS250RW) will start from ninth and Martin Cardenas (Repsol Honda RS250RW) from 11th.

Dovi said, "I believed we could do better than this. We've made a step forward compared to yesterday and we're not too far from the best set-up. But we still have some small problems with the front-end that won't let me ride like I want. However, the pace is good and we know where to work on the bike, so tomorrow in the warm-up it'll be very important to make those last adjustments. Lorenzo is strong and he takes full advantage of his bike, but tomorrow I'll fight for a victory."

Aoyama said, "I'm happy with how things went today, definitely better than yesterday. We improved the suspension and chosen the race tyres. I've been pushing hard throughout the qualifying session. My brother and I had a small talk before the practice and decided to help each other during the session. First he would follow me and then I would follow him, but he passed me and I tried to keep up with him. It was difficult because he was very fast today, but it was fun."

In the 125cc class Mika Kallio (KTM) secured pole with a lap of 2m 07.874s. Series points leader Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) qualified in second place, while home hope Lukas Pesek (Derbi) was third fastest. Sergio Gadea (Aprilia) completes the front row line-up.

This is the Finn's third pole of the season and with a 64-point deficit to make up on Bautista, he needs to make it pay with a win if the title is not to go to the Spanish man. Less than 0.5 seconds covers the front row qualifiers, but Gabor Talmacsi (Humangest Honda RS125R), fastest Honda qualifier, lies ninth, 1.184 seconds off pole.

Fabrizio Lai (Seedorf Racing Honda RS125R) qualified tenth for a third row start, while reigning World Champion Thomas Luthi (Elit Grand Prix Honda RS125R) could only manage 15th fastest time, 1.4 seconds off the pole lap. Bradley Smith (Repsol Honda RS125R) crashed in this final half-hour session and broke an arm. The rapidly improving rookie rider is expected to be out of action for several weeks.

Talmacsi said, "We've progress in the chassis set-up and now it's OK. Unfortunately, temperatures got higher in the afternoon and so the engine wasn't as fast as in the morning session. In general, though, we're ready for tomorrow and I'm happy about the way I rode and about the feeling with the bike. I'm the best Honda rider on the starting grid and tomorrow I'll do my best to get a good result."

Luthi said, "That was a bad session, not good at all. This morning we had some suspension problems but the team fixed them for the qualifying session and the bike felt much better. Basically we softened up the suspension front and rear and also found a better balance for the chassis. When I went out I was looking for a fast rider to follow. I was following Pasini but not close enough to get a slipstream. I'd hoped for better grid positions in the final part of the season but today I just didn't get a good run, I'm not happy but I'll give it 100% tomorrow."



Toni ELIAS(Fortuna Honda)


Dani PEDROSA(Repsol Honda Team)

MotoGP:

Kenny Roberts Jnr, KR Honda: 3rd.
"With this combination, as long as we are setting the chassis right, the bike should be competitive. We're still sneaking up on the chassis, and we're understanding more about what we need to do to fix it."
"If I am not fighting for the win, it automatically means we need to make the bike better. We've been within ten seconds of so of the leader over the last few races, and we need to shrink that gap."
" We stopped progress after Germany, because with the track at Laguna as it was, we couldn't do nothing. When we came here yesterday, I was really struggling. The bike didn't want to turn in. But we made adjustments, and whatever I told Warren (Willing, team engineer), he was able to make it better."
" In the qualifying session, we had a fuel supply problem with a new shorter tank we're using. I had the problem on one bike, then also on the other - so that's why I was gesturing while I was riding round. I was using being on camera to signal the team to change the tank on the other bike." "We'll try and fix that problem tonight. With this package, our race pace should be strong. If you'd have asked me this morning, I'd have said we should be good for the top six. Now, I believe we should be okay for the podium."

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda, 4th:
" I think that was the best session we've had all weekend as far as consistency is concerned. The front row would have been nice but I feel like my guys have done a really good job and we've made some good progress - we found a nice direction so we'll see how it goes tomorrow. I'm looking forward to race day and getting back in the ring with the boys. We've had a few weeks off but race day is the fun day. If it's going to be dry we'll definitely need all 20 minutes of warm-up to sharpen it up a bit more but I feel like we've got a decent bike right now. If we can just tweak the bike and rider a little we should go ok."

Toni Elias, Fortuna Honda, 6th:
" I am very happy with this result. After a good start to the season, we had a series of races which were made difficult by injury. But this is the result of a lot of hard work by the team. There is a great spirit in the team and i want to thank everyone for their effort. It will be important to make a good start tomorrow and try to stay with the lead group."

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda, 9th:
" In the morning we did a good job and improved a lot from yesterday, and the grip from the track was better too which helped. Also we made a good step on the machine set-up. This afternoon we had some problems finalising the gear ratios and I had to swap machines during practice, so I lost some time there. With the qualifying tyres I was on the limit to get that lap time but I couldn't be quite as fast this time as I have in other qualifying sessions. Ninth is not perfect but let's hope tomorrow I can make a great start and get away with the leaders. The bike set-up is not so bad but I think we can still improve it. Let's see what the weather does for the race - I hope it stays dry."

Marco Melandri, Fortuna Honda, 11th:
" In the two practice sessions I was able to set a good race pace and that means I can look forward confidently to the race. Unfortunately I was not able to get the best out of the qualifying tyres and therefore I wasn't able to get the full potential out of the RC211V. I am not too disappointed by eleventh position as i think I have found a good race rhythm. It will be important to make a good start tomorrow and try to make up positions and get to the lead group. The forecasts are saying there will be rain but I hope to have a dry race."

Casey Stoner, LCR Honda, 12th:
" I made a good step forward today and found a much better set-up and feeling for this track, while some other riders used qualifying tyres for a fast lap. This makes me reasonably confident for the race and even though I haven't raced a MotoGP bike here there are some good passing spots. In qualifying I had the option of two qualifying tyres and I did the time I thought Icould do, although it may have been quicker if I had been able to run my final lap. But in race trim the lap times are fast and consistent although I would still like a little more feeling from the front end."

Makoto Tamada, Konica Minolta Honda, 15th:
" We are still running the same base set up as Donington Park with the 16.5 inch wheels but I am still finding it difficult to run the corner speed I need to. This morning, we obtained a remarkable performance improvement in respect to yesterday and today's afternoon plan was to define the tyres choice between the two best tested this morning. However, the same material did not permit me to have the same feeling during the qualifying session. The problem was when entering the corners where I was not able to be so effective. We must understand the reasons why and try to solve the problem tomorrow morning."


250cc:

Andrea Dovizioso, Humangest Honda, 2nd:
" Actually, I believe we could do better than this. We have made a step forward compared to yesterday and we are not too far from the best set-up. But we still have some small problems on the front-end that doesn't let me ride as I would. However, the pace is good and we know where to work on the bike, so tomorrow in the warm up it will be very important to make the last adjustments. Lorenzo is strong and he takes full advantage of his bike, but for sure tomorrow I'll fight for victory".

Yuki Takahashi, Humangest Honda: ( will not race due to injury sustained at the Suzuka 8 hours)

Shuhei Aoyama, Repsol Honda, 6th:
"I'm happy with how things went today, it was definitely better than yesterday. We improved the setting of the suspensions and we've also chosen the race tyres. I've been pushing hard throughout the qualifying session. My brother and I had a small talk before the practice and decided to help each other during the session. First he would follow me and then I would follow him, but he passed me and I tried to keep up with him. It was difficult because he was very fast today, but it was fun! I will try to get a good result in the race tomorrow, but the most important thing is to finish the race."

Aleix Espargaro, Wurth Honda BQR, 9th:
" Good, really good the bike is really fast, not only that but the engine but the chassis and suspension are working perfectly. I am very plased with qualifying because I set my best lap riding alone. It was very important or me to do that because before today I had always needed to run with a fast rider to get a good qualifying time. The team have worked very hard for me and I hope I can give them a good result in the race tomorrow."

Martin Cardenas, Repsol Honda, 11th:
" Today things went a bit better. We changed a few things to improve the position on the bike which worked well. In the afternoon I managed to improve my time by almost half a second. I was hoping to improve it further but it hasn't been possible, although the feelings on the bike are very good now. Tomorrow I'll start from the third row of the grid, but the most important thing will be to finish race. My aim is to finish among the top ten, but the main thing is to finish."

Fabrizio Perren, Stop and Go Racing, 20th:
" The team fixed the problem I had yesterday when the engine would not rev over 13,000rpm and I was immediately able to go faster. I guess I lost half the practice time of yesterday and I still have to get to know the circuit better than now but I like it very much. The suspension and tyres are good but I am not completely happy with my riding. I have to do better in the race."

Arnaud Vincent, Molenaar Honda, 21st:
" Yesterday we were not so bad the bike was good. Today the handling is better and the chassis and suspension are working really good. But we need to work on the engine tonight and try to improve before the warm up. In qualifying I was faster than yesterday and set my time alone

Arturo Tizon, Wurth Honda BQR, 22th:
" I just can't find a good chassis and suspension set up for this track. Particularly on the downhill sections I cannot get the bike to hold the ideal line. We have improved from the morning free practice session but we still have to work in the warm up to improve things. I am disappointed because the engine is very good but if we can get the bike to turn as I want it to I will have a good race tomorrow."


125cc:

Gabor Talmacsi, Humangest Honda: 9th.
" We have made further progress in the chassis set-up and I can say that now it is okay. Unfortunately, temperatures got higher in the afternoon and so the engine wasn't as fast as in the morning session. In general, though, we are ready for tomorrow and I'm happy about the way I rode and about the feeling with the bike. I'm the best Honda rider on the starting grid and tomorrow I'll do my best to get a good result".

Fabrizio Lai, Seedorf Racing World: 10th.
"We have improved compared with the last races and yesterday. My Honda has good performances and the set up is ok. I'm tenth but only one second behind the poleman and on this track, that I don't like very much, it is not a bad result. At Sachsenring with this performances I could have reached a different result. Tomorrow I hope to make a good race: not to win but to do a better result than the last races. I have resigned myself to the fact that Honda is not competitive this year: now the most important thing is to obtain the best result with this kind of bike ".

Thomas Luthi, Elit Honda: 18th.
"That was a bad session, not good at all. This morning we had some suspension problems but the team fixed them for the qualifying session and the bike felt much better. Basically we softened up the suspension front and rear and also found a better balance for the chassis. When I went out I was looking for a fast rider I was following Pasini but not close enough to get a slipstream. I had hoped for better grid positions in the final part of the season but today I just didn't get a good run, I'm not very happy but I will give it 100% tomorrow."

Sandro Cortese, Elit Honda: 19th.
"I'm not really happy with my time or position on the grid. I had a strange problem with the number one bike today When I changed up into second the bike was juddering, but all the way up to fifth gear it was OK. I came into the box and we checked everything in the gearbox but can't find a problem. I took my second bike out but I had lost seven minutes and I had to find my rhythm and wait for a fast rider but I didn't find one so I set my time alone. Pity about the problem because the bike is very fast and the handling is good."

Tito Rabat, Wurth Honda BQR: 22nd.
" The first part of qualifying was very good but in the second part I just got caught up in slower traffic and could not find a faster rider to run wit. The bike is very fast and the suspension perfect and I was confident I could get a really fast qualifying time. I kept looking over my shoulder but there was nobody so I went for it alone."

Mike Di Meglio, FFM Honda: 25th.
" This morning, during free practice, I worked a lot on the way I ride; I chose a different path on the track and especially at the exit of corners to be in a better position to accelerate and I quickly improved of almost 2 seconds compare to yesterday. This afternoon, we tried another tyre that suited me quite well but the setting needed to be changed; unfortunately we didn't have time enough for this so I finished with the tyre I used at the beginning of the session. We will set the bike tomorrow morning in order to use this tyre for the race."

Bradley Smith, Repsol Honda: 29th.
" Basically we used a too hard rear tyre. We were trying to find the right tyre for the race, is nineteen laps long and we didn't know what the weather would be like. In Germany we had a little bit of a problem with the rear tyre so we just tried more for the race and never really got the heat in the rear tyre. I kept on making little mistakes but I insisted on pushing because I knew that with more laps it would get better. I actually made my fastest lap of the weekend with no grip; I felt there was no grip and I had no confidence but I kept on pushing and when I saw my lap time was good I thought maybe I could try and push a little bit more. Unfortunately I lost the rear in corner ten and I went over. My hand got stuck under the bike and it was broken. I don't know for the moment, maybe will be back in Malaysia, but I definitely want to come back so we'll try to get it fixed and keep our spirits up."

Michele Conti, Seedorf Racing World: 36th.
" It is not easy to learn the best line and to be competitive in few sessions. I tried to follow Fabrizio but his ride style is too different from mine. The riders with my pace are all Aprilia riders but Aprilia are too different from Honda. Tomorrow it will be an hard race."

Joey Litjens, Molenaar Honda: 37th.
" I was not so good yesterday because it was my first visit here, I missed the Brno test because of injury and it shows by the riders in front of me. The bike is working really good and today I was much better, I beat my time of yesterday by 2.5 seconds. Not fast enough so I am a little disappointed with myself. Still the race is tomorrow and if I get a good start I will have a good race."

Stefano Musco, replacement rider for Lorenzo Baroni at Humangest Honda, 44th:
" I fell a lit bit of pain after the crash I had yesterday, but I'm okay and I can ride without any problems. This morning I was very happy, but then, in the afternoon the bike was moving too much and I couldn't ride as I hoped. Anyway, I'm very happy I was able to qualify for tomorrow's race: it is a beautiful feeling".


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 12
Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno Qualifying

line
MotoGP
1 Valentino ROSSI (Camel Yamaha Team)
2 Loris CAPIROSSI (Ducati Marlboro Team)
3 Kenny ROBERTS JR(Team Roberts)
4 Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)
5 Shinya NAKANO (Kawasaki Racing Team)
6 Toni ELIAS (Fortuna Honda)
7 John HOPKINS (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
8 Colin EDWARDS (Camel Yamaha Team)
9 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
10 Randy DE PUNIET (Kawasaki Racing Team)
11 Marco MELANDRI (Fortuna Honda)
12 Casey STONER (Honda LCR)
13 Chris VERMEULEN (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
14 Alex HOFMANN (Ducati Marlboro Team)
15 Makoto TAMADA (KONICA MINOLTA Honda)
16 James ELLISON (Tech 3 Yamaha)
17 Carlos CHECA (Tech 3 Yamaha)
18 Jose Luis CARDOSO (Pramac d'Antín MotoGP)
19 Ivan SILVA (Pramac d'Antín MotoGP)
 
250cc
1 Jorge LORENZO (Fortuna Aprilia)
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Humangest Racing Team)
3 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Red Bull KTM GP 250)
4 Hector BARBERA (Fortuna Aprilia)
5 Alex DE ANGELIS (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
6 Shuhei AOYAMA (Repsol Honda Team 250)
7 Roberto LOCATELLI (Team Toth)
8 Jakub SMRZ (Cardion AB Motoracing)
9 Aleix ESPARGARO (Wurth Honda BQR)
10 Alex DEBON (Aprilia Racing)
11 Martin CARDENAS (Repsol Honda Team 250)
 
125cc
1 Mika KALLIO (Red Bull KTM GP 125)
2 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
3 Lukas PESEK (Derbi Racing)
4 Hector FAUBEL (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
5 Mattia PASINI (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
6 Nicolas TEROL (Derbi Racing)
7 Sergio GADEA (Master - MVA Aspar Team)
8 Joan SIMON (Red Bull KTM GP 125)
9 Gabor TALMACSI (Humangest Racing Team)
10 F LAI (Valsir Seedorf Racing)
 

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