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Rossi scorches to new pole record under Rio sunshine

Rossi scorches to new pole record under Rio sunshine

Rossi scorches to new pole record under Rio sunshine

The pole position record at the Nelson Piquet circuit was shattered for the second successive day under clear blue skies in Rio de Janeiro on Friday. After Max Biaggi had clocked a new record to take provisional pole on Thursday, Honda colleague Valentino Rossi went almost a second quicker today, ensuring the front slot on the grid for Saturday's race with a sensational time of 1'49.038. Rossi's effort was 0.302 seconds quicker than closest challenger Loris Capirossi, who improved his provisional time by almost a second on the Ducati. Sete Gibernau crashed his Honda at the very end of the session but escaped without injury and will start from third place, whilst Biaggi was unable to improve on his provisional pole time after crashing this morning and was relegated to fourth.

Troy Bayliss made significant progress in the final session and clocked the fifth fastest time in the final seconds, closing the gap to the front row to just 0.166 seconds to provide real hope of another good showing for Ducati tomorrow. Bayliss edged out the impressive Shinya Nakano on the Yamaha, who makes the second row in sixth place for the second successive race. Nicky Hayden quickly got to grips with the circuit on his first visit to Rio, qualifying seventh fastest ahead of Honda colleague Tohru Ukawa, who completes the second row in eighth.

Local favourite Alex Barros was unable to defend his provisional second row spot as the pace intensified today and will start from the third row in eleventh. Colin Edwards made a notable improvement on the Aprilia, moving up from twentieth place to twelfth and knocking Garry McCoy back to the fourth row in thirteenth – the Australian's best qualifying performance of the season on the Kawasaki. As well as Gibernau, John Hopkins and Olivier Jacque (twice) both crashed but emerged without major injury, although Jacque did suffer a nasty knock to his left foot.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2003

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