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Rossi reponds with pole record at Brno

Rossi reponds with pole record at Brno

Rossi reponds with pole record at Brno

Valentino Rossi responded to Max Biaggi's battle cry in the only way he knows how at the Brno circuit this afternoon, setting a new pole position record which puts him at the front of the MotoGP grid for tomorrow's crucial race. Biaggi started the session with the psychological edge as he defended provisional pole but the Italian crashed just two minutes into the session and was forced to qualify on his reserve machine. However, his time stood firm at the top of the standings until the final twelve minutes of the session, when Sete Gibernau set a fast lap to ignite an exciting finale. Moments later Nicky Hayden burst under the two minute mark for the first time to move up to second spot, only to be outdone by Biaggi and Checa with a minute remaining.

By this time Rossi was already mounting his late attack and the World Champion scorched to a time of 1'58.708 with just one second left on the clock. Biaggi and Capirossi, who also crashed earlier in the session, both tried to respond as the chequered flag was waved but both faltered on the second half of promisingly quick laps and were forced to settle for third and fourth place respectively behind Gibernau in second. Checa was another faller but he recovered to seal the front slot on the second row as Hayden was relegated to seventh by Troy Bayliss. The Australian's last gap effort shaved almost two seconds off his provisional qualifying time and pushed Tohru Ukawa out to eighth.

Shinya Nakano spent the afternoon in a local hospital after a huge crash in the morning free practice left him with bad bruising and a swollen eye, but the Japanese rider escaped serious injury and he could even ride tomorrow. If Nakano does make the grid he will start from fourteenth place but faces huge challenge as twelve of the thirteen men in front of him have lapped under the 2'00.605 lap record pace set by Daijiro Kato in his first outing on an RC211V last year.


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