Hayden on pole for Australian GP

Nicky Hayden today claimed his third MotoGP pole in the qualifying session for the Poloni Australian Grand Prix. The 15th round of the MotoGP championship will take place tomorrow on the Phillip Island circuit. Current World Champion, Valentino...

Nicky Hayden today claimed his third MotoGP pole in the qualifying session for the Poloni Australian Grand Prix. The 15th round of the MotoGP championship will take place tomorrow on the Phillip Island circuit. Current World Champion, Valentino Rossi, and Sete Gibernau completed the front row.

Hayden set a time of 1:29.337 on his Repsol Honda to steal the pole from Rossi; the Yamaha rider had been the great dominator of the activity until that moment.

"On that last lap I just hung in there. Me and Rolfo almost came together! I was pretty committed so I just had to stick the bike up the inside and hope. I thought it wasn't going to be pretty but it worked out OK", explained the 24-year-old rider.

Hayden was third fastest on the morning and was always between top six in the qualifying until his flying lap put him on pole

"We're struggling a little on race pace to be honest so we're definitely going to have to dig in tomorrow but I'll enjoy the pole now. The guys have done a great job all weekend and we've kinda' snuck up to the front little by little", he said a about Sunday's race.

Five riders were able to break the circuit lap record today, showing the advance of the machines from one year to another with the North American rider setting the final time for Honda.

Rossi couldn't repeat last season's pole position in Australia although the Gauloises Yamaha rider shaved more of half second his previews record in the track.

The recently-crowned 2005 champion was held up in his flying lap, losing him a good chance for pole. "I was quite confident for pole position because the team have done a great job with the bike this weekend and it worked well from yesterday. I lost my best opportunity to take pole when I was held up by Xaus in the final corner; I tried to overtake him but I wasn't able to so I came in and tried again with another tyre. Anyway, sometimes that happens", commented the Italian.

However, Rossi knows the potential that the Yamaha has for the race and will try to use it all to take victory. "The bike is good and second place is not so bad. It will be a hard race, especially for the tyres, but hopefully the good weather will continue tomorrow!", he said.

Spaniard Gibernau managed to put his Movistar Honda on front row for the twelfth time this season, although the pace of the bike was once a gain a matter of concern for the team.

"My fastest lap doesn't reflect the true situation we are in. We lapped really well at this circuit in preseason and now we were unable to do so. I can't be happy at all because we haven't got a good race pace", mentioned Gibernau, who still couldn't catch a victory this season.

The two times sub-champion has the expectation of taking at least a top-three finish tomorrow, but they have a lot to improve yet: "The team is analysing the data now to see if they can come up with something for the warm-up that will at least give us the chance to fight for the podium".

On his 33rd birthday, Carlos Checa put the only remaining Ducati for the race in fourth place. In yesterday's practice session, Checa's teammate, Loris Capirossi, had an accident that took him out of action for the rest of the Australian weekend. It was also the same situation for Kenny Roberts, Jr., with the Suzuki sidelined after an spectacular accident.

The other Yamaha rider, Colin Edwards, and Italian Max Biaggi completed the second row of the grid. Spaniard Toni Elias slotted seventh in his best qualifying result since his debut in MotoGP this season.

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