Rossi sets new record for Catalunyan pole

The pole position for the "Gran Premi de Catalunya", seventh round of the of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP), that takes places at Circuit de Catalunya, in Barcelona, Spain, belongs to Valentino Rossi and the Fiat...

The pole position for the "Gran Premi de Catalunya", seventh round of the of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP), that takes places at Circuit de Catalunya, in Barcelona, Spain, belongs to Valentino Rossi and the Fiat Yamaha Team.

The Italian clocked 1.41:840 to set a new circuit best lap for his 48th pole position in the Continental Circus and his 38th in MotoGP.

After a strong performance in yesterday`s practice sessions taking second spot, Rossi confirmed today his potential and looks strong to get his fourth-consecutive victory in Catalunya.

"I'm really happy to have another pole position, this season our bike is working brilliantly with our Michelin qualifying tyres and at every race I have great fun during qualifying! Along with Mugello this is one of my favourite tracks and really I find it hard to decide which I like best! It's fun to have two great races together like this even if it's hard work without a rest in between", Rossi stated.

About the keys for Sunday`s race, the Italian added: "As usual it's going to be very important to start from the front tomorrow, but I think it's going to be a really hard battle anyway, especially in this heat. Pedrosa and Stoner look very strong and also Hopkins has a good pace, so I think we can expect a great fight for the fans to watch! Anyway we're starting in the best position, my M1 feels very good and we will be looking for another victory."

However the Fiat Yamaha rider needs to break the current MotoGP pole jinx to take victory, as none of the last eight Grands Prix have been won by the rider starting at the front of the grid.

A fantastic qualifying session completed Randy de Puniet's weekend, thus far, to take second place right behind Rossi at the wheel of his Kawasaki Ninja.

"It is a great feeling to be on the front row! Yesterday we struggled a little bit, but my crew did a great job in the evening and this morning, which paid off already this morning with second position in the third free practice. We worked on the suspension set up and the chassis as well as making some adjustments in the mapping and we solved yesterday's problem with the rear grip", De Puniet said.

The French rider set 1.41:901 to end just 0.061-seconds from taking his maiden pole position in MotoGP after his debut last year. De Puniet riding as if his massively swollen left knee, caused by a crash last week at Mugello, did not affect him and thus his effort is quite big this weekend.

"I knew that physically I wouldn't have many chances to get the most of the three sets, as it was. I am exhausted right now because in qualifying you need to give it all in just one lap. My main problem is to have to stop and go and not when I am riding. Tomorrow's race is going to be hard but I am sure that after a couple of laps, when I will get the rhythm, everything is going to be fine", the former 250cc rider explained.

De Puniet`s second position spot makes him the top Bridgestone rider on the grid, reflecting the team's ongoing, and unquestionably positive, working partnership with the tyre manufacturer

But it isn't all smiles down at the Kawasaki pit garage as their other rider, Olivier Jacque, who was only just recovering from a fall in Shanghai last month, crashed again in free practice before the qualifying.

The 33-year-old Frenchman highsided on turn five of the circuit, a slow hairpin corner, and was put into a neck brace before being carried off on a stretcher. After a check up at the paddock's Clinica Mobile, Jacque was taken to a nearby hospital in Barcelona for further evaluation. As a result, he was unable to qualify for tomorrow's race.

Local hero, Dani Pedrosa, with the Repsol Honda, grabbed third on the grid -- just 0.162s behind Rossi -- whilst Ducati Marlboro's championship leader, Casey Stoner, starts from fourth with a time 0.277s behind the Italian.

"I'm happy because it's been quite a long time since I've been on the front row so it's nice to be back. The practice sessions have gone pretty well and my set-up and race tyres look OK so I'm hopeful for tomorrow. There are quite a few riders with a good pace from practice though, and this means the race could be very close and difficult for sure", Pedrosa commented.

Nicky Hayden, current MotoGP world champion, seemed to be pleased with his seventh place starting slot, a good result in a poor season the American is having carrying the number "1".

The Catalunyan Grand Prix starts tomorrow at 14.00, local time.

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