Although Sete Gibernau did not improve on his record-breaking lap time from yesterday, neither did his adversaries. However, there was a change in the provisional front row, as Nicky Hayden displaced his ex-teammate Valentino Rossi from second to third -- a huge achievement since the American has not started from the front row since Valencia 2003, nor has he performed as many had expected in 2004.
This combination left the front row for tomorrow's Italian GP at Mugello an international affair, with Spain, USA and Italy all represented.
But the surprises did not end with Hayden making the front row. Fellow American and MotoGP rookie Kurtis Roberts had a fiery crash towards the end of the final qualifying session. With about ten minutes left, Roberts lost control of his Proton KR V5 and crashed. As Roberts and his motorcycle rolled to a halt, the bike caught fire, sending Roberts running for cover. The episode did not sit very well with team owner and Roberts's father Kenny Roberts. After he returned to the team garage, his father commented "the only time we'll get on TV is if we have a BBQ!"
Alex Barros and Marco Melandri both bumped Max Biaggi down to sixth place. Bridgestone-shod Makoto Tamada will lead the third row at tomorrow's GP. Next to Tamada is Le Man's second place finisher, Carlos Checa, with Loris Capirossi next to him.
With this only being qualifying, you can expect sparks to fly on Sunday.