Alex Hofmann's MotoGP Round Up from Brno

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Valentino Rossi was flying solo at Brno for Ducati in the Czech Republic Grand Prix with Nicky Hayden out injured, and after what was a tough time in Indianapolis in the previous round things looked to be going really well at the beginning of the weekend.

That's pretty much what we expected because the layout seemed to suit the bike better, and Valentino felt more comfortable and could push more to get the bike to its limit. That was great to see because it's never fun to see Valentino fighting further back, and I think he was actually pretty confident for the race.

Practice went well and he finally made it back onto that second row in qualifying - his best qualifying result of the season so far. You could see him really going for it in the race but it was then pretty obvious that he ran into some problems. 

An oil leak early on affected the way he was able to ride and I think he had some issues with oil getting all over his boots, and that'll affect your gear shifts and grip on the footrests.

I think Valentino could have stuck with that second group for longer and battled with Stefan Bradl for fifth place. At the start of the race it certainly looked possible, and likely, but then he had that issue with oil which slowed him down. However you could see that when Bradl went past him he immediately tried to take him back and he tried for a while, but he just didn't feel comfortable on the bike. At least he was able to try for a few corners though, and it was much better to see him riding like that than the way things went in Indy. I expected him to be a bit faster towards the end of the race, but I can't judge just how big a problem he was having after that oil leak.

Now there is a private test coming up at Misano on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, and they'll want to prepare really well for the race there just over two weeks later because that's the real home of Ducati and Valentino - Bologna is just around the corner and Valentino is riding in his own backyard. Even if their future is not going to be together, both Ducati and Valentino will want to put on a really good show for the fans and hopefully they can keep up the progress made in Brno.

I hope they can get a lot done at the test - the weather is usually never an issue there. Often you don't find seconds over a two-day test, but if they only find a few tenths they can probably sort themselves out better going into the race weekend and it could really make a difference, maybe even two or three positions. For Valentino that could make the difference between fighting for the podium or finishing seventh or eighth.

Nicky missed Brno with a couple of broken bones in his hand and there's no plate holding it together. The healing time should be over by the Misano race weekend, but swelling is going to be an issue so he's going to fight his hand more than finding his rhythm. He's a pro though, he doesn't need a full day to get back into racing and when those guys are fit to go they are immediately fast, that's not an issue. I think the hand could still be an issue though, because it's what you need the most. It's really tough getting round at Misano, so that's probably the biggest doubt I would see with Nicky, but I expect them both to be on it for Round 13!