Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
Rain clouds overshadow first day at Donington Park

The opening day of the British Grand Prix was interrupted by rain
today as the clouds hovering above the Donington Park circuit eventually gave
way to light showers during this afternoon's second free practice session.
Whilst Alex Barros was leading the time sheets at that point, the fastest time
of the day went to Colin Edwards, who had been the only rider to dip beneath his
own lap record in the morning's first practice. Flying high on the confidence of
consecutive podiums in the last two races, Edwards is now targeting his first
ever MotoGP victory in front of a supportive British crowd.

"I finished third at Assen and second at Laguna Seca so I'm guessing it must be
time for a first!" smiled the American. "I like Donington, I always get along
with it and it's been one of my favourite tracks for a long time. I've spent a
lot of time working in England in the past so I'm getting an extra push from the
fans. The bike has gotten better and better over the past few weeks so the aim
today was to continue along that line. I felt comfortable from the first lap and
when I came in and saw the lap times I was doing I decided to put my head down
for a couple of laps and see what I was capable of."

Edwards' Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi was second fastest today, just 0.025
seconds down on the American's best lap of 1'29.960 at a circuit where he has
celebrated victory on four of his last five visits. John Hopkins completed the
hypothetical front row in third place riding the Suzuki, although grid positions
will not be decided until tomorrow's single qualifying practice session, which
takes place at 14.00h BST.

Despite setting the fastest time in the afternoon, Barros was unable to improve
on his own best effort from the morning and ended the day fourth fastest on the
combined time sheets. The Brazilian, who is suffering from slight back pain
after his crash on the opening lap of the race at Laguna Seca in the last round,
is making his 250th Grand Prix appearance this weekend and is searching for his
fourth podium finish at this circuit.

Marco Melandri was involved in the collision with Barros that saw both riders
end up in the gravel two weeks ago but the Italian returned to form with the
fifth fastest time of the day at a circuit that lies just two kilometres from
his adopted home village. Melandri was just 0.060 seconds faster than his Honda
team-mate Sete Gibernau, with the Spaniard followed by Kenny Roberts, Troy
Bayliss, Nicky Hayden and Loris Capirossi - all separated by less than a tenth
of a second each. Hayden was literally brought back down to earth after the joy
of his debut win at Laguna Seca two weeks ago when he was caught out by the
afternoon rain and crashed. The American escaped uninjured, as did fellow
crashers Roberto Rolfo, Carlos Checa, Makoto Tamada and Ruben Xaus, who all
tumbled out during the morning practice.

Jorge Lorenzo set provisional pole position for the 250cc race on his first ever
visit to Donington Park on a quarter-litre machine, overshadowing the
performance of last year's pole man Alex de Angelis. Hiroshi Aoyama and Dani
Pedrosa completed the front row after a crash in qualifying saw Casey Stoner
drop to fifth. Pedrosa had also crashed in the morning session but escaped
unhurt as he prepares to defend a 37-point lead over the Australian in the
championship. Whilst Stoner is aiming to grab the headlines from Pedrosa this
weekend, most eyes during today's 250cc action were on his compatriot Anthony
West, who rode the new quarter-litre KTM for the first time. The Austrian
factory machine made a belated but impressive debut, with West able to clock up
a total of 43 laps and qualify 15th fastest in a field of 32 riders.

It was a good day all round for KTM as their rider Mika Kallio took provisional
pole position for the 125cc race. Kallio was joined on the front row by his
team-mate Gabor Talmacsi, with the Finn and the Hungarian sandwiching Thomas
Luthi and Mattia Pasini. Talmacsi and Pasini are currently joint leaders of the
series, with Luthi and Kallio trailing by 11 and 18 points respectively.

INFO 2005/104. 22-07-2005