Americans lead French GP attack

Americans lead French GP attack

Like many predicted at the beginning of the year, it looks like the 2004 MotoGP season is going to be one of the most competitive of all time. And to make it even more interesting, Americans, Colin Edwards and Nicky Hayden are leading the...

Like many predicted at the beginning of the year, it looks like the 2004 MotoGP season is going to be one of the most competitive of all time. And to make it even more interesting, Americans, Colin Edwards and Nicky Hayden are leading the timesheets at Le Mans. Edwards, a two-time WSBK champion, is no stranger to sitting on pole position.

Colin Edwards.
Photo by Richard Sloop.
Nicky Hayden, 2003 MotoGP rookie, was expected to perform well on his second season at HRC-Repsol. But after the below-par performances of the two, no one thought they would top the timesheets at the French GP held at the challenging Le Mans circuit.

Behind Hayden, in the last spot of the provisional front row, is a Yamaha, but not with the number one would have expected: instead, it is Carlos Checa, trailing Hayden by more than two tenths of a second.

Second row is headed by Marco Melandri, about sixth hundredths back from Checa. Next to Melandri is Jerez GP winner, Sete Gibernau, two hundredths of a second behind. Completing the provisional second row is Honda Samurai, Makoto Tamada.

Valentino Rossi.
Photo by Gauloises Racing.
To everyone's surprise, current MotoGP world champion, Valentino Rossi, only managed to qualify 7th fastest to lead the third row. Rossi's archrival, Max Biaggi qualified 8th; with Green-Team rider, Shinya Nakano 9th.

With the top 11 riders less than one second of each other and the weather man not forecasting rain, yet, things may shuffle around by Saturday.

<pre> 1 Colin Edwards 1:33.870 2 Nicky Hayden 1:33.966 3 Carlos Checa 1:34.207 4 Marco Melandri 1:34.260 5 Sete Gibernau 1:34.288 6 Makoto Tamada 1:34.303 7 Valentino Rossi 1:34.307 8 Max Biaggi 1:34.328 9 Shinya Nakano 1:34.381 10 Alex Barros 1:34.535 11 Kenny Roberts 1:34.557 12 Troy Bayliss 1:35.033 13 Ruben Xaus 1:35.041 14 Loris Capirossi 1:35.213 15 Norick Abe 1:35.441 16 John Hopkins 1:35.463 17 Jeremy Mcwilliams 1:35.627 18 Alex Hofmann 1:35.718 19 Neil Hodgson 1:35.721 20 Shane Byrne 1:36.543 21 Nobuatsu Aoki 1:36.819 22 Kurtis Roberts 1:37.800 23 Michel Fabrizio 1:38.245 24 Chris Burns 1:38.823

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Series MOTOGP