Andrea Dovizioso

2008 Brno Qualifying Practice Report

At the end of the first day of practice at Brno, it was clear that there were two men a long way clear of the rest of the field. Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi were over half a second ahead of the man in 3rd, and the only riders capable of cracking into the 1'57s. The timing sheets seemed to tell a fairly clear-cut story of two fast men, a pack of riders all very close to each other, and another disastrous failure by Michelin. The grid seemed to be shaping up nicely.

The problem was, Saturday's weather threw not so much a fly as a whale into the ointment, after a storm front unleashed torrential rain over the Czech track, leaving the circuit completely drenched, though still ridable. With more rain coming in during the day, the grid was going to reflect a slightly different reality than Friday's practice had revealed, and confusing the picture even more, the forecast for Sunday is for the usual warm, bone dry conditions we have come to expect from Brno over the years.

During the morning's free practice session, Casey Stoner had already proved quite emphatically that he is probably the best wet-weather rider in the world, by stomping all over the competition. And as qualifying started in a light drizzle, he continued in the same vein. On just his 2nd flying lap, the Australian took a 5 second lead over the rest of the field, leaving his rivals gasping for breath.

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Yet More Of Jules Cisek's Laguna Seca Photos

No need for an introduction this time, just straight into more of Jules Cisek's fabulous photographs from Laguna Seca.

Typical Californian weather: foggy and cold

Laguna Seca MotoGP

 

You know you're in trouble when you have to use intermediates in the dry

Nicky Hayden at Laguna Seca on intermediates

 

Of course, if you had Bridgestones, the conditions didn't bother you

Casey Stoner at Laguna Seca 

Dean

Alex de Angelis, Qualifying, Laguna Seca

 

Laguna's front straight, not long, but still fast

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More Laguna Seca Images, From Jules Cisek

Last year, we ran some photos from Laguna Seca by friend of MotoGPMatters.com, and one of the driving forces behind the rideontwo.com forums and the outstanding MotoGPOD podcast, Jules Cisek, who many of you will know by the nickname Popmonkey. Jules' day job is "something in computers", an occupation which seems to be almost compulsory in his native San Francisco. But it's quite clear from his fantastic photography that IT's gain is photography's loss. Fortunately for us, he's allowed us to share some of his superb pictures from the 2008 US GP at Laguna Seca. And what's even better is that Jules' skill as a snapper is obviously improving.

The Doctor's bike at the Hard Rock Cafe

 

Names To Watch For: The Red Bull Rookies

 

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's poor Jorge Lorenzo

 

The big time:

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MotoGPMatters Desktop Images From Donington

In addition to the great photos from Laguna Seca, Scott Jones also provided us with some superb images from the British Grand Prix at Donington a few weeks earlier. Now, we've made some of his best pictures from that race available as desktop images as well. So far, the images are only available in one resolution, but check back for higher resolutions later.

Alex de Angelis at Donington

Alex de Angelis, not happy in the rain: 1024x768

Randy de Puniet at Donington

Randy de Puniet, equally fast looking both forward and back: 1024x768

Andrea Dovizioso at Donington

The most consistent of the rookies, Andrea Dovizioso: 1024x768

Colin Edwards at Donington

Colin Edwards, just short of the podium: 1024x768

 

Toni Elias at Donington

Toni Elias: 1024x768

 

Race Series: 

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2008 Sachsenring QP Report

After the damp morning practice, during which Dani Pedrosa finally pipped Casey Stoner to the post setting the fastest time in the dying seconds of the session, the big question in the afternoon was whether the Pedrosa could repeat this during qualifying, or whether Stoner would dominate as he had on Friday. It was a question Stoner seemed determined to answer in a hurry. He went straight to the top of the timesheets on his 2nd lap, and by lap 4, he was close to the previous pole record pace, with a time of 1'22.082, less than 7 minutes into the session.

Under normal circumstances, that time would have stood for most of qualifying, while the riders worked on their race setup, before breaking out the soft qualifiying rubber. But the possibility of showers disrupting practice meant that a number of riders took a very early qualifier, gambling that such a move could pay off if the rain started to fall for real. Alex de Angelis, Randy de Puniet and Colin Edwards all took a very early qualifier, with Edwards taking provisional pole well before the halfway mark, with a lap of 1'21.794.

Worryingly for Edwards, that time was only 0.2 seconds faster than the 1'21.996 set by Casey Stoner, in the middle of a long run on race tires. Qualifiers can generally be relied on to take close to a second off of your best time, so Edwards' 0.2 second advantage was looking more like a 0.8 second deficit, once Stoner got serious.

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2008 Donington QP Report

The weather had been forecast to be poor for the 2nd day of practice, and boy, where the weather forecasters right. Both this morning's free practice and this afternoon's qualifying practice took place in full rain. And like the morning's session, the afternoon's qualifying saw the wet weather specialists leap straight to the top of the table. Within ten minutes of the session starting, the tables were headed by three Australians: Casey Stoner, Chris Vermeulen and Ant West. Vermeulen and West will be no surprise, both men being renowned specialists in the rain - Vermeulen's protests that he doesn't like the rain notwithstanding - and Stoner has always coped very well in the wet.

 

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Scrap Another Name - Dovizioso Stays In 250 Next Year

Well, the influx of young riders from the 250 class seems slowly to be staunching: After Jorge Lorenzo decided to stay in 250s for one more year (I will have more to say about this during the off-season), the only man capable of taking the title from him has also announced he'll be staying in the class next year. According to the Italian site MotoOnline, Andrea Dovizioso has signed a 2 year contract with Honda, staying in 250s for 2007, and moving to MotoGP in 2008.

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