Interesting stats and facts ahead of the GP of Australia
Valentino Rossi starts from pole position for the eighth time in 2003. This is Rossi's first ever pole at Phillip Island. Rossi has won fourteen times from the eighteen previous occasions he has taken pole in the premier-class. If he finishes in the top three it will be his 21st consecutive podium finish. Only Giacomo Agostini has had a longer run in the premier-class with 22 during the 1967/68/69 seasons.
Rossi's pole position time is the fastest ever lap of the Phillip Island circuit by a motorcycle, more than 1.8 seconds quicker than Jeremy McWilliams' pole from last year.
McWilliams' tenth place on the grid is the best qualifying result for the four-stroke Proton machine, more than half a second faster than his time from last year on the two-stroke.
The top 19 riders on the grid have lapped faster than Rossi's existing lap record. The top 17 riders on the grid have lapped faster than pole time set last year by McWilliams.
Loris Capirossi will be making his 50th career front row start in the premier-class of Grand Prix racing.
If Sete Gibernau finishes in 14th place or higher he will have scored more points than any other rider in the process of earning the number two plate in the premier-class World Championship.
Troy Bayliss, who won both World Superbike races at Phillip Island last year, starts from the front row of the grid for the first time since qualifying second at the Spanish GP back in May. Nicky Hayden's fifth position on the grid equals his best qualifying result of the year that he achieved at Motegi.
Max Biaggi has failed to qualify on the front row for only the third time in 2003 and for the first time since he started the Catalan GP from ninth place.
Marco Melandri is the highest Yamaha qualifier in seventh place on the grid.
Tohru Ukawa's third place finish in Australia in 2002 was the last time that he stood on a Grand Prix podium. Garry McCoy's twelfth place is the best ever qualifying result for the Kawasaki four-stroke machine.