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Rossi sits firm on pole

Rossi sits firm on pole

Rossi sits firm on pole

Valentino Rossi will start from pole position for the second time in successive races on Sunday after the final qualifying session for the Gran Premio Marlboro de España was hit by fickle weather conditions which prevented any of the riders from improving on their provisional times. Brief and intermittent showers punctuated by warm and bright sunshine throughout the day left the circuit in varying degrees of dampness in the space of a single session, presenting the MotoGP riders with the near impossible task of gathering set-up information in constantly changing conditions.

Max Biaggi dominated for much of the session but it was Suzuki rider Kenny Roberts Jr. who eventually emerged on top, the Bridgestone tyres once again showing their prowess in the cool conditions as Shinya Nakano lapped third fastest on the Kawasaki. Troy Bayliss was also quick, coming closer to his qualifying time than any of the other riders as he set the second fastest time of the day during an extended dry spell at the end of the session.

This afternoon's times could be irrelevant come tomorrow, however, when further showers are forecast for a MotoGP race which sees Rossi joined on the front row by his Yamaha team-mate Carlos Checa, who lines up in third place behind Spanish compatriot Sete Gibernau on the Honda after some consistently fast laps in the dry conditions during yesterday's first and ultimately definitive qualifying session. Max Biaggi has Japanese company on the second row, with Honda team-mate Makoto Tamada alongside him in fifth place and Nakano lining up in sixth, equalling a best ever MotoGP grid position for Kawasaki which Nakano set himself in the first round of the season at Welkom.

The rest of the grid also remains unchanged, confounding the misery of the WCM riders Michel Fabrizio and Chris Burns, who were denied the chance to improve their lap times from yesterday and as such fail to qualify for tomorrow's race.


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