Motorcycling: Toseland finds the speed to check his rivals in Brno

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The Independent Online

The former World Superbike champion James Toseland set the fastest time in first qualifying at Brno in the Czech Republic yesterday.

The Yorkshireman, who has not won since the first race of the season, took his Winston Honda to a lap of 2min 2.349sec, 0.374sec clear of Fonsi Nieto's PSG-1 Kawasaki. The championship leader, Troy Bayliss, could only manage a lacklustre 11th, over a second shy of Toseland.

Chris Walker was an encouraging eighth on his PSG-1 Kawasaki. However, Foggy Petronas Racing's Craig Jones was 22nd.

Leon Haslam broke the Oulton Park lap record in practice for the ninth round of the British Superbike Championship. Haslam, hoping to take the championship lead from his Airwaves Ducati team-mate Gregorio Lavilla, put in a best lap of 1min 35.788sec at an average speed of 101.17mph.

HM Plant Honda's Ryuichi Kiyonari and Karl Harris closed to within 0.176sec of Haslam at the top of the leaderboard. Shane Byrne, a winner last Sunday at Knockhill, was fourth fastest on a Rizla Suzuki.

Valentino Rossi has vowed to spoil the homecoming party for MotoGP's American stars in the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca. The world champion won last week at the Sachsenring but faces a fight against the odds on Nicky Hayden's home ground tomorrow. Rossi's former Repsol Honda team-mate leads the championship by 26 points and is an expert at Laguna Seca where he won last year.

Yet Rossi aims to deny him and said: "Even though I didn't know the track last year I was able to follow Nicky for many laps and then Colin [Edwards] too, so I learnt a lot.

"By the end of the race I was getting stronger and I actually set my best time on the last lap so I hope that this year we can be strong from the start and this time beat the Americans."

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