Rossi's hot in Spain


  • Other Sport
  • Saturday, 01 May 2004

SPANISH GRAND PRIX: JEREZ, SPAIN 

DEFENDING world champion Valentino Rossi on a Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha claimed the provisional pole for the Spanish Grand Prix after the opening qualifying session yesterday, improving the MotoGP qualifying lap record by 1.1 seconds. 

Sete Gibernau on a Honda clocked the second fastest time while fellow Spaniard Carlos Checa on a Yamaha fills out the provisional front row. 

CLOWNING AROUND: Italian motocycling driver Loris Capirossi (left) plays bullfighter as Australian driver Troy Bayliss plays the bull with horns on his motorbike on the Jerez racetrack in Jerez, Spain, on Thursday. The Spanish MotoGP will take place on Sunday. - APpic

Rossi took his Yamaha right to the front just five minutes into the session and was never really challenged for the remaining 55 minutes. 

With 10 minutes go, the riders began streaming into the pits for fresh tires and the action really heated up with just five minutes remaining. 

Three minutes from time, Rossi was still on top, followed by Biaggi, Checa, Nicky Hayden and Shinya Nakano on the suddenly competitive Kawasaki, a bike that was nowhere last year. 

Rossi held on to his lead in the final laps and put the session away with his record lap of 1:40.818 at the 4.423-kilometer Jerez circuit. 

In the 250cc, Sebastian Porto of Team Repsol clocked the fastest time of 1:43.673 to take provisional pole position today. 

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