Ducati and Capirossi on pole in Jerez

Ducati Marlboro Team grabbed one-two on the grid in the hands of Loris Capirossi and Sete Gibernau. The two riders did a fantastic job in qualifying for the opening round starting grid of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP)...

Ducati Marlboro Team grabbed one-two on the grid in the hands of Loris Capirossi and Sete Gibernau. The two riders did a fantastic job in qualifying for the opening round starting grid of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP) that will take place tomorrow in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.

The session was affected in the very beginning by a crash caused by Alex Hofmann when his bike blew up leaving oil all over the turn nine. Five riders went down because of the situation: Randy de Puniet, Valentino Rossi, Toni Elias, Kenny Roberts, Jr and Shinya Nakano.

After the red flag and a delay of 20-minutes, the action returned with no further major problems.

Capirossi clocked 1m39s064 at the end of the qualifying session to take the first pole position of the season and to set a new record at the circuit.

"What a fun day, I could ride the way I like to ride. The bike was sideways as usual, but everything was under control! I was going for a 1.38 on my last lap but I just missed it. So far this has been a very positive weekend, following on from the great tests we did here two weeks ago", Capirossi commented.

The Bridgestone tyres were one of the keys for the performance of the Italian squad. "Bridgestone have improved a lot, I was a lot faster today with soft tyres than last time here and we are really good with race tyres too", explained the Italian.

About the strategy for tomorrow's race, Capirossi seems to have it clear in his mind. "I don't think I'll try and leave everyone behind from the first lap because this track is very demanding on tyres and it would be better to save them for later".

His new teammate for this year, Gibernau, confirmed the potential of the Desmosedici GP6 by taking second place on the grid right after Capirossi.

"I'm keeping my feet on the ground. Like I keep saying, I'm in the middle of a learning process with the bike, the team, the tyres, everything. My goal today was to be on the first or the second row, but everyone's done such a great job", Gibernau stated.

The Spaniard wants to take it easy for Sunday to start the year with some good points toward the championship: "My aim is to get away with the leading group and try to be with them all the way to the end of the race. I hope I can do it".

The former Honda rider marked 1m39s285 in his lap number 24 of the 28 he used in the qualifying session.

Shinya Nakano completed his fantastic job and placed the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR in the first row after he set 1m39s526 for his best shot. The Japanese has shown strong during the weekend and will try to close it with a good result on Sunday.

"Qualifying on the front row was one of our targets for this year, but to do it at the first race is fantastic. We knew that Kawasaki and Bridgestone had made a big step forward during winter testing, but you're never sure exactly how competitive you're going to be until you get to the first race", mentioned the 28 year-old rider.

Nakano, like his teammate de Puniet, had to switch to their second bike after the oil incident. After all was said and done for today, things came up great for the team on the 50th birthday for Team Principal, Harald Eckl.

Tomorrow, and for the first time, there will be a full Bridgestone front row in MotoGP.

The following four spots were a matter of factory Honda bikes. Both guys from the Repsol Team, Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa, took fourth and fifth, while Toni Elias and Marco Melandri put the Fortuna Team in sixth and seventh.

Hayden fought for a place in the front row but was unable to beat Nakano in the final minutes of the session. At least, the American rider could keep Pedrosa behind him on the grid.

The young Spaniard did a fantastic job in his debut weekend in MotoGP, taking an expectant fifth place.

Right after Pedrosa will be a former 250cc rival of his with Elias closing up the second row. Another surprise was to see Elias beating his teammate and 2005 sub-champion, Melandri.

French rookie de Puniet put the second Kawasaki in eighth position followed by the Camel Yamaha Team rider and defending World Champion Valentino Rossi, whose teammate American Colin Edwards closed out the top ten places.

The fall in the start and the grip performance of the M1 complicated the pace of Rossi, who will attempt tomorrow to win for the sixth time the season opener round of MotoGP. It seems he will have to work a lot to do it.

The true moment will come at 14:00 local time in a battle that expects to be open and hard with a group of strong candidates to take the first victory of the season in the `Gran Premio betandwin.com de España`.

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Valentino Rossi , Colin Edwards , Sete Gibernau , Shinya Nakano , Kenny Roberts Jr. , Randy de Puniet , Marco Melandri , Toni Elias , Dani Pedrosa