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Gibernau maintains home rule

Gibernau maintains home rule

Gibernau maintains home rule

Sete Gibernau maintained his irresistible form on the second and final day of qualifying for the Gran Premi Gauloises de Catalunya, improving on his provisional qualifying time to maintain pole position by a comfortable margin of 0.363 seconds over closest challenger Valentino Rossi. Gibernau, who leads Rossi by 10 points in the championship, delighted the rapturous home support with his pole record and promised to put on a show as further landmarks are broken in the grandstands tomorrow, with an unprecedented capacity crowd of over 100,000 expected to pack the circuit.

"It's going to be a long race and I still need to improve on a few things but hopefully I can get away from Valentino," commented the Spaniard, who clocked a best time of 1'42.596. "This morning things weren't working too badly but we tried a few things this afternoon which I don't think work. The bike felt good for one or two laps but I think we'll have to go back to this morning's setting for tomorrow's race."

Nicky Hayden posted the third fastest time of the session on his very last lap to seal a front row start for the second race in succession, having qualified second fastest at Mugello last week. Max Biaggi was unable to improve his time from yesterday and slipped to the second row in fourth, whilst Marco Melandri continued his encouraging start to the season in fifth. Alex Barros will complete the second row after qualifying sixth fastest.

Ruben Xaus gave the home fans extra reason to cheer, popping up in fifth place during an exciting climax to the session before dropping two places to seventh. Xaus is joined on the third row by John Hopkins, who returns to action after missing out in Italy through a broken thumb injury, and Makoto Tamada.

Troy Bayliss qualified tenth fastest to head up row four ahead of Colin Edwards and Carlos Checa, whilst his Ducati team-mate and last year's winner Loris Capirossi had a torrid session, crashing once and running off track before qualifying fifteenth behind the two Kawasakis of Shinya Nakano and Alex Hofmann.


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