Originally published by Julian Ryder on Saturday, July 22, 2006
Rossi said it on Thursday: “This is a strange track, it will be a strange race.”
He wasn’t wrong; I can’t remember a race that was less predictable than this one. Consider all the variables: the new track surface, the extreme temperatures, the teeth-loosening bumps, especially on the run down from the corkscrew. Add in the fact that nobody except Carlos Checa did any long runs in practice or qualifying and there isn’t any data to reach a prediction with.
Quite frankly, if the temperatures are as high tomorrow as they’ve been today then anything could happen. What do we actually know? The most consistent guy all weekend has been Kenny Roberts, but when he was racing with Pedrosa and Stoner at the end of the Assen GP he admitted he hadn’t got it in him to take the fight to the youngsters.
Nicky Hayden is as fit as anyone out there but the resurfacing and safety work have negated much of his home-town advantage.
It looks as if Ducati and Kawasaki are in deep trouble, the Reds with their front Bridgestones, the Greens with front end problems. Suzuki don’t appear to be suffering rubber woes, but have they got a race tire?
Pedrosa snuck up quietly in qualifying but he’s never even seen the place before and everyone is saying it is more difficult to pass here than at the Sachsenring.
Rossi says as soon as he finds what he thinks is the ideal line between the bumps after the Corkscrew he runs a couple of inches wide next time round and finds his wheels aren’t in contact with the tarmac.
Checa did a 20-lap run this afternoon, I don’t think anyone else got in double figures so Dunlop at least have some idea of what they’re going to do.
Colin Edwards appears to have a bit of the spirit of Imola about him this weekend and will unveil a new color scheme tomorrow, expect the old red and white helmet, too. What does all this mean? Your guess is as good as mine.
Maybe we’ll have to pay more attention than usual to warm-up tomorrow morning.