Rossi on pole for Welkom
Valentino Rossi has continued to dominate qualifying for the opening 2004 MotoGP round in South Africa by qualifying on pole for tomorrow’s race (Sunday April 18), with a time of 1:32.647.
Rossi, competing on the Yamaha M1 for the first time, had to chop over one second from his 2003 lap record to stay in front of Sete Gibernau. The Spaniard missed out on the top spot by just 0.035 of a second. Max Biaggi qualified third with 1:32.919, while Nicky Hayden is fourth on 1:33.098. In fifth place is Colin Edwards, the fourht Honda in the top five.
Sixth is a good position for Shinya Nakano, riding the Kawasaki MotoGP bike for the first time, while Melandri, Barros, Capirossi and Roberts Jnr round out the top ten.
Neil Hodgson has improved slightly to become the top Brit in 15th, and has also put himself ahead of team-mate Ruben Xaus. Jeremy McWilliams is 17th, with fellow Aprilia rider Shane Byrne in 19th.
The shock of the weekend so far has been the performance of Troy Bayliss on the factory Ducati who has eventually qualified in 21st place, with just Michel Fabrizio on the WCM behind him on the grid. Bayliss has been struggling to get used to riding with a 16.5 inch front wheel in dry conditions for the first time, and this has constantly hindered him.
MotoGP final qualifying:
1) Rossi 1:32.647. 2) Gibernau 1:32.682. 3) Biaggi 1:32.919. 4) Hayden 1:33.098. 5) Edwards 1:33.111. 6) Nakano 1:33.276. 7) Melandri 1:33.296. 8) Barros 1:33.359. 9) Capirossi 1:33.522. 10) Roberts Jnr 1:33.543. 11) Hopkins 1:33.598. 12) Tamada 1:33.679. 13) Hofmann 1:33.815. 14) Checa 1:33.884. 15) Hodgson 1:33.977. 16) Xaus 1:34.103. 17) McWilliams 1:34.404. 18) Abe 1:34.484. 19) Byrne 1:34.703. 20) Aoki 1:34.845. 21) Bayliss 1:35.804. 22) Fabrizio 1:36.982
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