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Gibernau leads Honda assault

Gibernau leads Honda assault

Gibernau leads Honda assault

Sete Gibernau led an emphatic Honda response to potential Yamaha domination at the end of the first qualifying session for the Gran Premi Gauloises de Catalunya this afternoon, posting a pole record lap of 1'42.934 to take front spot on the provisional grid for his home race.

The Spaniard's factory colleague Max Biaggi also came up with a hot lap as the chequered flag was prepared after crashing earlier in the session, as did the Italian's team-mate Makoto Tamada, bumping Yamaha pair Valentino Rossi and Carlos Checa off the front row after Checa had led the way for much of the session. However, neither could get near Gibernau, who took top spot by a comfortable 0.629 second margin.

Honda rider Nicky Hayden split the second row on his last lap, qualifying fifth fastest behind Rossi but ahead of Checa. The American's team-mate Alex Barros was seventh fastest, heading up the third row from Shinya Nakano, who rode with a slightly bruised back following his spectacular crash at Mugello last Sunday, and Marco Melandri.

Troy Bayliss contested the top positions throughout the session before dropping back to tenth on his Ducati, one place ahead of team-mate Loris Capirossi, whilst there was also positive progress at Suzuki, with both Kenny Roberts and John Hopkins competing for the second row before eventually qualifying twelfth and thirteenth respectively.


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