Rossi on provisional pole for Jerez
World champion Valentino Rossi continued to amaze with a blistering performance in first qualifying at Jerez, Spain today. He is on provisional pole for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, the first European round of the year. And he’s demanding still more power from Yamaha.
Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha rider Rossi lapped in 1:40.818 - a new absolute track record, almost 1.1 seconds faster than his own previous best. It’s two seconds faster than his race lap record from last year. With rain threatening for Saturday it’s unlikey his pole position will be challenged.
Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that Rossi’s team-mate Carlos Checa took his Yamaha to third fastest in 1:41.427. This on a bike regarded as a bit of a bridesmaid all last year. And Shinya Nakano is sixth quickest on the Kawasaki.
Honda rider Sete Gibernau splits the Yamaha riders on the front row with 1:41.198 while Max Biaggi, also on a Honda is fourth quickest (and heading the second row) with 1’41.546.
Rossi said: "Honestly, when I saw the time on the computer I couldn’t believe it. We started with the same good rhythm as Welkom and we are in the front. The bike is going really well, it’s really agile and great to ride! We have some other things to try with the tyres, which we will do tomorrow morning. I don’t know if it will rain tomorrow but I’m more worried about Sunday’s weather anyway. I’m very happy, I love this track, it’s my favourite and the Yamaha goes well here. We are at a good level but for sure we are not at our maximum. We need more horsepower."
First qualifying results. 1. Rossi (1:40.818), 2. Gibernau (1:41.198), 3. Checa (1:41.427). 4. Biaggi (1.41.546) 5. Tamada (Honda 1.41.631), 6. Nakano (Kawasaki) 1.41.645. 7. Nicky Hayden, Honda, 1.14.911. 8.Colin Edwards (Honda) 1.42.000. 9. Alex Barros (Honda) 1.42.141. 10. Kenny Roberts (Suzuki) 1.42.312. 11.Marco Melandri (Yamaha) 1.42.479. 12. Ruben Xaus (Ducati) 1.42.945. 13 John Hopkins (Suzuki) 1.42.954. 14. Alex Hofmann (Kawasaki) 1.43.004. 15. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 1.43.008. 16. Shane Byrne (Aprilia) 1.43.024. 17. Troy Bayliss (Ducati) 1.43.349. 18, Neil Hodgson(Ducati) 1.43.627. 19 Jeremy McWilliams (Aprilia) 1.43.730. 20 Norick Abe (Yamaha) 1.44.058. 21. Nobuatsu Aoki (Proton) 1.44.058. 22. Kurtis Roberts (Proton) 1.545.899.
The WCMs of Michel Fabrizio and Chris Burns failed to qualify with times of 1.48.485 and 1.48.602.