Originally published by Julian Ryder on Saturday, August 19, 2006
Yes, he’s definitely back.
Shouldn’t Brno, with its sweeping second and third gear combination bends favor the guys with 250 experience? After all, Max Biaggi has won here more than anyone else, so the young guns just up from the two-strokes should go well here. Not quite: the front row is Rossi, Capirossi, Roberts, none of whom can really remember what a 250 looks like.
And all of them look pretty happy, maybe for different reasons: Valentino because the Yamaha has worked well from Friday morning on, Capirossi because the Duke was a bag of on Friday but worked well today, and Roberts because he thinks if you have a Honda motor, Michelin tires and a team like his you damn well ought to be on the front row. Nicky Hayden leads the second row and is pretty pleased himself because the Reposl team made a good few improvements on yesterday as well. He’d like a bit more speed, but hey wouldn’t everybody, it’s hard work but “better than a 9 to 5!”. Not a bad definition of motorcycle racing.
As for the race, things could really be turned upside down by the weather. Rain is coming, the question is when. Already teams’ intentions to test new 800s on Monday and Tuesday are being modified by the forecast. If it stays dry then, says Rossi, it will be decided by tire management and not until he final six laps.
Capirossi says Bridgestone have a race tire that’s an improvement on last year’s and he finished second on that, and he did a race-distance run today to prove it. Kenny says he ‘Should be okay for the podium.’
So where are the 250 hotshots? The best of the rookies is Dani Pedrosa in ninth, nearly a whole second off pole time. But this is one of Dani’s favorite tracks where he hasn’t been off the rostrum for four years and he had good pace on race tires today.
After the Friday practice, Rossi said that what he has to do—all he can do—is apply pressure. He’s doing that alright.