Brno MotoGP: No holiday hangover for Valentino Rossi

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Valentino Rossi emerged from the summer break in breathtaking form in Brno this morning.

The Italian, riding a modified YZR-M1 engine for improved acceleration, knocked title rival Casey Stoner off top spot with a last lap attack.

Rossi clocked a best of 1.57.782 on his final lap to edge 0.129s clear of factory Ducati rider Stoner, who yesterday apologised to the 29-year-old after his post race attack in Laguna Seca.

Stoner’s best time of 1.57.911, which he clocked with six minutes of the session remaining, secured him second place as the dominant duo were the only two riders to break the 1.58 barrier.

Stoner and Rossi swapped placed at the top of the timesheets several times during the session, with the field evaluating a new Brno track surface.

At one stage, Stoner was over 0.5s clear of the field as he threatened another one-man domination, but Rossi was the only other rider capable of matching and beating the Aussie’s impressive pace.

Third fastest was Shinya Nakano as he made an immediate impression on the 2009 prototype satellite Honda RC212V. The bike is essentially the same spec as Dani Pedrosa’s current factory V4, and Nakano clocked a best time of 1.59.021, which was still a massive 1.239s slower than Rossi.

Gresini Honda team-mate Alex de Angelis was fourth quickest with John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen fifth and sixth respectively.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt