Hayden takes British provisional pole

Nicky Hayden is on his way to attaining his first ever MotoGP pole position at the British GP, at Donnington Park. The young American made his intentions known even during morning practice, shadowing reigning world champion Valentino...

Nicky Hayden is on his way to attaining his first ever MotoGP pole position at the British GP, at Donnington Park. The young American made his intentions known even during morning practice, shadowing reigning world champion Valentino Rossi.

Rossi had led morning practice, followed by Hayden, but roles were reversed in afternoon qualifying. Hayden's time of 1:29.295 was good enough to give him a cushion of three tenths of a second back to second place. Third place qualifier, Loris Capirossi, seems to be getting the handle of the new twin-pulse Ducati V4, qualifying only a tenth behind Rossi.

Carlos Checa, aboard the second works Yamaha, leads provisional second row, followed by compatriot Sete Gibernau who is a tenth behind Checa. Rounding up the third row is American Colin Edwards, who finished morning practice in third, but fell back to sixth in qualifying.

Sachsenring's winner, Max Biaggi, struggled in the morning to come to grips with the newly resurfaced Donnington Park. In practice he only managed 16th place, but his form improved by qualifying, placing his Camel Honda in seventh place. Without looking at the timesheets, seventh place may seem as nothing to write home about. However, Gibernau, Edwards and Biaggi are all within five hundredths of a second, and Biaggi is only four tenths behind Rossi. Next to Biaggi is Italian Marco Melandri with a time of 1:30.162. Troy Bayliss had an amazing practice session, finishing fourth in the morning. However, as a testament to the level of competition in 2004, he only managed to shave half a second off, placing him next to Melandri in ninth.

As the season is coming to the summer break, current rumor is that in 2005 Yamaha will run Rossi with its own, tobacco-less, livery -- a move that might cost Yamaha a reported $54 million in sponsorship support. In reply, Yamaha said it was a "tip" when compared to Yamaha's R&D expenses.

Stay tuned for more.

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Series MOTOGP