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Facts and stats ahead of the MotoGP race

Facts and stats ahead of the MotoGP race

Facts and stats ahead of the MotoGP race

> Yamaha riders won the MotoGP race at the first two visits to the Welkom circuit, Honda riders have won for the last three years.

> Valentino Rossi starts from pole position for the 21st time in the premier-class. This is the first pole for Yamaha since the final race of 2002 at Valencia when Max Biaggi qualified first there.

> If Rossi should win in South Africa he will become the first ever rider to take back-to-back victories in the premier-class riding machines from two different manufacturers, and he would also be the first rider in the premier-class since Barry Sheene (1976, 77, 78 & 79) to win the opening race of the season for four years in succession. A top three finish would be a record 23rd consecutive podium finish for Rossi.

> Rossi's pole position time is the fastest ever lap of the Welkom circuit by a motorcycle. The top thirteen riders on the grid have lapped faster than the existing lap record set last year by Rossi himself.

> Sete Gibernau scored his first victory on board a four-stroke machine last year in South Africa, after starting from pole for only the second time in his GP career. Gibernau also finished in second place at the Welkom circuit in 1999 and scored his first ever GP pole position at the South African GP in 2000.

> Max Biaggi's third place finish last year was his first podium finish in South Africa since he took the victory at the first visit to the Welkom circuit in 1999.

> Nicky Hayden's fourth place on the grid equals his best ever grid position achieved at the final race of 2003 in Valencia.

> Colin Edwards' fifth place on the grid is his best ever qualifying position in Grand Prix racing, his previous best being seventh on the grid at both Catalunya and Valencia last year.

> Shinya Nakano's sixth place on the grid is the best qualifying result for a Kawasaki rider in the premier-class since Kork Ballington qualified in fourth place for the Grand Prix of Finland at the Imatra circuit back in 1981. Ballington's third place finish in that same race was the last podium finish for a Kawasaki in the premier-class. Nakano's qualifying time is 1.852 seconds better than the fastest qualifying time achieved last year by a Kawasaki rider.

> Loris Capirossi's ninth place on the grid is his lowest qualifying result since he started from 15th place on the grid on his debut ride aboard the Ducati at Suzuka last year.

> Alex Barros, now riding a Honda, was the last Yamaha rider to finish on the podium in the premier-class, at the French GP last year. A podium finish for any of the Yamaha riders in South Africa would bring to an end the longest run of races in the premier-class without a top-three finish for the Yamaha since they entered the class with a factory supported team in 1973.


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