Checa on course for pole in wet conditions

Carlos Checa took provisional pole position in a wet first qualifying for the Czech Grand Prix at Brno today.

Carlos Checa took provisional pole position in a wet first qualifying for the Czech Grand Prix at Brno today.

The Gauloises Yamaha rider set a best lap of 2min 11.188 sec on a damp track to claim top spot ahead of nearest challenger Troy Bayliss, who enjoyed his most competitive session of the season for Ducati Marlboro.

Sete Gibernau completes the provisional front row for Telefonica Movistar Honda after setting the early pace this afternoon.

World championship leader Valentino Rossi, fresh from his victory at Donington Park last time out, was down in seventh as he again struggled in wet conditions.

World Superbike champion Neil Hodgson was the leading Briton in 10th place, although he was nearly three seconds off Checa on his D'Antin Ducati.

British Superbike champion Shane Byrne also performed well in the wet, taking his Aprilia to 14th as teammate Jeremy McWilliams ended the day 20th.

James Ellison enjoyed a solid debut session for Harris WCM qualifying 25th in difficult conditions.

* The United States Grand Prix is to return to the MotoGP calendar next year after an 11-year absence. Laguna Seca, the California track which already stages the US round of the World Superbike Championship, will host the event after an agreement in principle was reached to stage a round there for the next five years.

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