Rossi on top of first qualifying in Africa

After much anticipation, Valentino Rossi is back to his old ways. Rossi toped the timesheets on the first practice-qualifying session of the 2004 season. He was closely followed by former HRC-mate Sete Gibernau. Third was Loris Capirossi on the ...

After much anticipation, Valentino Rossi is back to his old ways. Rossi toped the timesheets on the first practice-qualifying session of the 2004 season. He was closely followed by former HRC-mate Sete Gibernau. Third was Loris Capirossi on the Ducati, but more than three tenths behind the top men.

Because of new MotoGP-only rules this season, the front of the grid is made up of only three riders instead of the usual four. This means that qualifying fourth fastest puts you in the second row of the grid.

Leading the American charge was off-season revelation, Kenny Roberts Jr. KR Jr. qualified fifth fastest and only half a second behind the front runners. While to some fifth may not seem as a good result, you must remember that in 2003 the Suzuki seldom qualified in the top ten, much less in front of the HRC-works team (Nicky Hayden 9th, Alex Barros 12th).

<pre> 1 Valentino Rossi 1:33.353 2 Sete Gibernau 1:33.378 3 Loris Capirossi 1:33.709 4 Max Biaggi 1:33.730 5 Kenny Roberts 1:33.841 6 Colin Edwards 1:33.859 7 Marco Melandri 1:34.100 8 Makoto Tamada 1:34.177 9 Nicky Hayden 1:34.208 10 Carlos Checa 1:34.540 11 Alex Hofmann 1:35.616 12 Alex Barros 1:34.619 13 Shinya Nakano 1:34.661 14 John Hopkins 1:35.112 15 Norick Abe 1:35.251 16 Ruben Xaus 1:35.417 17 Shane Byrne 1:35.852 18 Neil Hodgson 1:36.187 19 Troy Bayliss 1:36.552 20 Jeremy McWilliams 1:36.834

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Max Biaggi , Carlos Checa , Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Norifumi Abe , Jeremy McWilliams , Troy Bayliss , Colin Edwards , Alex Barros , Sete Gibernau , Shinya Nakano , Kenny Roberts Jr. , John Hopkins , Neil Hodgson , Ruben Xaus , Shane Byrne , Makoto Tamada , Marco Melandri , Alex Hofmann
Teams Williams