Rossi on pole for opening-round at Jerez

Current 4-time MotoGP World Champion, Valentino Rossi, sent a clear message to his rivals by setting pole position for tomorrow's opening-round in Jerez, Spain. The message was loud and clear; almost a full half-second faster than his bitter ...

Current 4-time MotoGP World Champion, Valentino Rossi, sent a clear message to his rivals by setting pole position for tomorrow's opening-round in Jerez, Spain.

The message was loud and clear; almost a full half-second faster than his bitter rival, Sete Gibernau. Rossi's time of 1:39.419 was more than a second faster than the previous record of 1:40.818.

Rossi explained that while his qualifying lap was "incredible", the race would be difficult as he felt the race tires would be the question mark for tomorrow's race.

Gibernau, who was the pace-setter all weekend and appears to have the best race-pace, finished qualifying second-fastest; closely followed by this new teammate, Marco Melandri.

American Nicky Hayden, led the HRC attack and qualified fourth, three tenths behind Melandri. Shinya Nakano made Kawasaki proud by squeezing himself into fifth place. While Italian Loris Capirossi, completed the second row and placed his thumping V4 sixth on the grid.

Makoto Tamada, who had previously raced Bridgestone tires, made the move to the French rubber at the end of last season and has since been working on finding out where the limits are. Tamada will lead tomorrow's third row, followed by Alex Barros, who switched teams with Max Biaggi last year, and Barros's teammate, Troy Bayliss.

American John Hopkins, who impressed many in the first practice sessions, only managed a 1:40.825, enough for only 11th. The rest of the Americans struggled as well, Kenny Roberts finishing 14th and Colin Edwards 15th. However, neither faired as badly as Honda's number one rider, Max Biaggi, who will commence his title challenge from the sixth row of the grid.

The Spanish GP is here. Stay tuned for more.

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Max Biaggi , Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Troy Bayliss , Alex Barros , Sete Gibernau , Shinya Nakano , Kenny Roberts Jr. , John Hopkins , Makoto Tamada , Marco Melandri