Gibernau takes historic pole in China

Gibernau takes historic pole in China

Spaniard Sete Gibernau went on to take the first-ever pole-position for a motorcycle in Shanghai, China. This year is the first time the MotoGP paddock visited the futuristic and newly-built Chinese racetrack. The F1 boys got a chance to sample it...

Spaniard Sete Gibernau went on to take the first-ever pole-position for a motorcycle in Shanghai, China. This year is the first time the MotoGP paddock visited the futuristic and newly-built Chinese racetrack. The F1 boys got a chance to sample it last year and raved about it, but some of the MotoGP luminary did not share that view; the main reason being the lack of flow and the abundance of slow corners. But this is MotoGP and you race where you are told, come hell or high water.

Sete Gibernau.
Photo by Gresini Racing.
Gibernau's blistering lap of 1:59.710 placed the MoviStar-Honda rider one tenth faster than second-fastest, Marco Melandri. Both teammates, but specially Melandri, showed they had a very good race-pace, which should be in the 2:01s or low 2:02s; if rain hold off.

Loris Capirossi placed his thumping Ducati in the front row for the first time this season, but more than half a second adrift the Honda duo,

Another surprise was the appearance of American John Hopkins leading the second row of the grid. While Hopkins qualified nine tenths behind the pole-sitter, he is only two tenths behind his fellow Bridgestone rider. American, Nicky Hayden, will also start from the second row. Hayden out-qualified his teammate, Max Biaggi (14th), yet again this season.

Valentino Rossi was the first Yamaha amidst the Hondas, Ducatis and Suzukis and only managed to be sixth-fastest. In the past it had been pretty common to see the top-ten men in qualifying to be all within one second of each other, but with a new track and changing conditions, only the top-four met this pattern. For the fist time since Donington Park 2001, Rossi was more than a second adrift the top qualifier.

Valentino Rossi.
Photo by Gauloises Yamaha Team.
Third row went to Carlos Checa who dominated the third practice session. While MotoGP rookie, Toni Elias, out-qualified veteran Kenny Roberts, to take 8th and 9th on the grid respectively.

The weather is still a question mark for all. It drizzled in the early minutes of qualifying, but it stopped. Will it happen again tomorrow? Will we see a repeat of Estoril?

Stay tuned for more.

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Max Biaggi , Carlos Checa , Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Sete Gibernau , Kenny Roberts Jr. , John Hopkins , Marco Melandri , Toni Elias