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Rossi destroys pole record and rival confidence at Jerez

Rossi destroys pole record and rival confidence at Jerez

Rossi destroys pole record and rival confidence at Jerez

Valentino Rossi today delivered a crushing blow to his MotoGP rivals as he dominated proceedings throughout the first day of the Gran Premio Marlboro de España at Jerez. Rossi, who already leads the championship after victory on his Yamaha debut at Welkom two weeks ago, was quickest in the cloudy morning free practice and stepped up the pace in the warm afternoon sunshine to smash the pole position record at the Spanish circuit by over a second. Rossi's sensational time of 1'40.818 was 1.165 seconds inside Loris Capirossi's previous record and was enough to hold off a late challenge from home favourite Sete Gibernau by a comfortable 0.380 seconds.

Rossi set his own pace from the very start of the session, gradually strengthening his advantage as rivals closed in and setting his insurmountable benchmark with less than two minutes remaining. Gibernau's effort was the closest from a number of attempts in the dying stages of the practice, with Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi also posting quick times without ever seriously threatening Rossi's dominance. Checa, who was 0.229 seconds slower than Gibernau, joined his fellow Spaniard on the provisional three-man front row to delight the gathering local crowd.

Camel Honda team-mate Max Biaggi and Makoto Tamada qualified fourth and fifth to head up the second row whilst Shinya Nakano, who like Tamada uses Bridgestone tyres, made it a good day for the Japanese tyre manufacturer by clinching sixth spot on the Kawasaki. American riders Nicky Hayden and Colin Edwards line up next to each other on the provisional grid in seventh and eight place respectively and are joined on the third row by Honda colleague Alex Barros.

The hot pace at the front of the pack meant bad news for WCM riders Michel Fabrizio and Chris Burns, who failed to lap within the 107% limit of pole time, although Kurtis Roberts qualified comfortably after returning to action from a shoulder injury which forced him out of the first round of the season.


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