Pedrosa takes Chinese GP pole in the wet

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa today claimed his first MotoGP pole position in today's qualifying session for the Poloni Grand Prix of China, to take place tomorrow in Circuit of Shanghai. This race will be the fourth round of the FIM Road Racing...

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa today claimed his first MotoGP pole position in today's qualifying session for the Poloni Grand Prix of China, to take place tomorrow in Circuit of Shanghai. This race will be the fourth round of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP).

"It's really good to be on pole position and I'm really happy because this time I went quickly on qualifying tyres which is something I haven't managed so well in the previous qualifying sessions. I don't really know what was different today -- it was not one specific thing - I just felt more confident with the tyres, so I am happy", Pedrosa said.

The 20-year-old Spaniard, in only his fourth Grand Prix in the premier class, showed that he's mastered the use of Michelin's qualifying tyres by setting a time that was 0.364-seconds clear of the field.

In a session that was split in half by the appearance of the rain, Pedrosa set a time of 1:59s009 in the end to leave behind his two American challengers, John Hopkins and Colin Edwards. Hopkins and Edwards will now start alongside Pedrosa on the front row.

It seeed that Marlboro Ducati rider Sete Gibernau would maintain his advantage from the first half hour, before the rain started to fall, but when the riders came out again times quickly improved, dropping the Spaniard down the pecking order.

About the challenge for tomorrow`s race starting from the pole, Pedrosa expressed: "I'll just be looking to make a good start and have a good race tomorrow. I'm not thinking about the win yet, just to perform at my maximum".

Hopkins roared to a fantastic second place during qualifying session to give Rizla Suzuki MotoGP its second front row start in consecutive races. The American rider and his team had worked successfully all day to find the correct combination of Bridgestone tyres and bike set-up in the dry conditions.

"I can't complain at that! I was a bit upset afterwards as I thought I was going to get the pole position that I want. I've been on the front row a few times now but never pole! I owe my best lap to my crew, because an 18 second pit-stop to change a tyre is pretty amazing", Hopkins said.

That quick pit stop was crucial for Hopkins because it gave him the extra time he needed to complete his final and fastest lap with only seconds to spare.

Edwards came up today with his best qualifying job so far in the season with third place and saved the honour for Camel Yamaha team. The Texas-borned racer showed a strong pace with the M1 in the dry conditions of the session.

"This has been a really strange weekend because we started off by finding a setting for the wet and then converted it to the dry -- usually it is the other way around! I felt so comfortable with the bike yesterday and I was disappointed when I saw that I was down in thirteenth, but I knew the reason for that and I was really confident about today", Edwards commented.

The performance of the Yamaha and Edwards`s itself so far in the season is not the expected with two times nine in Doha and Istambul as best results. However, the 32-year-old rider is ready to change his luck on tomorrow`s race.

"I think we have a good setting to go the distance tomorrow and I am happy with my tyre choice. I've had some decent starts to races so far this season but haven't been able to maintain the pace, so hopefully I can turn that around tomorrow. It feels good to be back on the front row", he said.

Fourth place in the grid belong to Shinya Nakano with the Kawasaki in another good work in qualifying. "I'm fairly confident for the race tomorrow. For sure, starting the race from the front row would have been better, but I'm happy enough with fourth place on the grid", Nakano stated.

Pedrosa's teammate and standings leader, Nicky Hayden, will start tomorrow from fifth in the grid, while seven-time World Champion Valentino Rossi had another complicated journey and ended up on 13th position with the Yamaha M1.

"The shower in the middle of qualifying screwed things up for us a little bit so we've still got a few unanswered questions for tomorrow. It feels good to be leading the championship and I'm happy with my run of consistency, so I'm looking for that next win", Hayden mentioned, who leads the standings 52 to 51 points over Loris Capirossi.

Rossi and Yamaha still have a lot of work if they want a leave Shanghai with some good points after the race. "For sure we have a lot of problems and it's disappointing to be back in this position again after such a good day yesterday. When the grip becomes normal again, like today, we have a lot of chatter and it's very hard to ride the bike", Valentino explained.

"Now we have to start from the fifth row and so it's going to be a very hard race. We have talked a lot tonight in the garage and now we will try some things in the morning during warm-up and hope that we can make some final improvements. Now I need to ride a defensive race, try not to make any mistakes and try to take as many points as possible", Rossi finished.

At 15.00 local time will have place the fourth round of MotoGP in Circuit of Shanghai in a race that, as usual since Rossi is having set-up problems, has many candidates for one victory.

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Colin Edwards , Sete Gibernau , Shinya Nakano , John Hopkins , Dani Pedrosa