Rossi strong with pole position for Catalunyan GP

Reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi grabbed his 31st career pole position in the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP) to start the 'Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya', the seventh round of the season. Alongside Rossi on the...

Reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi grabbed his 31st career pole position in the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP) to start the 'Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya', the seventh round of the season. Alongside Rossi on the front row will be the two American riders, John Hopkins and Kenny Roberts Jr.

Rossi set a time of 1m41s855 on the 22nd of the 26 laps he used in the afternoon to take a new track record in the Circuit de Catalunya. The Italian's last pole position was in British Grand Prix of 2005, in July.

"I am really, really happy -- it is a big satisfaction to be back on pole after such a long time. The bike has been working really well all weekend and I have to say a big 'thank you' to everybody at Yamaha and all my engineers because they have worked so hard to build this new chassis and then make it work so well in such a short space of time", Rossi stated.

The seven-time World Champion dominated yesterday's practice session and, with today's pole position, it seems difficult to lose tomorrow's race and Rossi knows that.

"It is the first time I have had this pleasure in a long time and to do it at this track is amazing because it is so much fun to ride here", he said,

About the competition itself, Rossi added: "There are some tough riders out there but I have a special feeling in front of these fans. They always treat me so well and I want to put on a good show for them tomorrow"

The Italian won two weeks ago the Italian Grand Prix in Mugello, and now looks in shape to repeat in Catalunya. And everybody knows that when the champion is focus, it is hard to beat him.

Rizla Suzuki rider John Hopkins was able to gain a front row start this season for the third time and looks foward to achieve tomorrow his first podium. Hopkins joined Rossi in the exclusive club that broke the 1m42 barrier with a laptime of 1m41s984.

"Front row is where I wanted to be so we just have to get off the line good and go for it. With the qualifying tyres this afternoon I just went out, turned my brain off and went for it! Luckily I got on the front row, but it's about time I got that watch for pole position", Hopkins commented.

The boy from Ramona could possibly have been on pole, but a yellow flag being shown on his final lap forced him to back off the power slightly and cost him the valuable fractions of a second that may have given him his first-ever pole position.

Hopkins expect to have a strong pace in the race, in issue in which the team worked hard with Bridgestone. "It's going to be a hard race for us tomorrow with the heat and everything but we are looking to get the maximum out of myself, the bike and the tyres".

Former World Champion in 2000 season, Roberts jr., had a fantastic Saturday with the KR211V of Team Roberts to take third spot in the grid. The American marked 1m42s055 after 21 laps.

The best rookie position belong to Chris Vermeulen in the other Rizla Suzuki on fourth place, followed by Shinya Nakano on fifth with the Kawasaki.

Sixth and seventh had both standings leaders, Ducati Marlboro's Loris Capirossi and Repsol Honda's Nicky Hayden. "Considering the way I rode that last lap, I think I deserved better than sixth place! But sixth means the second row and that's not so bad", Capirossi mentioned.

"Qualifying didn't go just great. On my last lap I had a pretty good lap going but I just got completely hosed in last corner, a dude just pulled in front of me, and that cost me a shot at the front row. Still, we'll give it all we've got in the race tomorrow", Hayden explained.

Aussie Casey Stoner, Fortuna Honda's Marco Melandri and Kawasaki's Randy de Puniet completed top ten places with Dani Pedrosa, the young Spanish hope, on eleventh position with the second bike of Repsol Honda. "Unfortunately we didn't make such a good plan for the qualifying tyres and at the end of the session I had a lot of traffic", justified Pedrosa.

The lights will change to go for round seven of the MotoGP World Championship at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT) when the top drivers will give it all to try stop Rossi of getting his eighth victory in Catalunya.

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