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Rossi cuts loose at the Island

Rossi cuts loose at the Island

Rossi cuts loose at the Island

Valentino Rossi further improved the pole position record on the second day of qualifying for the SKYY Vodka Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, extending a significant chronological and psychological advantage over his nearest rivals. Having held on to provisional pole by just over two tenths from Troy Bayliss yesterday, Rossi clocked a lap of 1'30.068 this afternoon to secure the front slot on tomorrow's starting grid by 0.428 seconds from the Australian's Ducati team-mate Loris Capirossi. Bayliss suffered a high speed crash midway through the session but recovered to set the fourth fastest time and secure a front row start for his home Grand Prix behind third placed Sete Gibernau.

Bayliss' last gasp effort denied Nicky Hayden a first ever front row start in a double blow to the American, who had been held up by Gibernau on a potentially pole-setting lap. Hayden's effort was still enough for fifth spot on the grid, however, and he is joined on the second row by Honda colleagues Max Biaggi and Tohru Ukawa, who sandwich Yamaha rookie Marco Melandri in sixth and eighth place respectively.

One year on from his astonishing pole lap riding the Proton KR3 at this circuit, Jeremy McWilliams once again declared his love for Phillip Island with an encouraging tenth place on the team's new V5. McWilliams was one of seventeen riders to improve on his record from last season, ensuring an incredibly tight grid which sees the front five rows separated by just over two seconds.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2003, SKYY VODKA Australian Grand Prix

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