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Gibernau heads Honda front row in Rio

Gibernau heads Honda front row in Rio

Gibernau heads Honda front row in Rio

Sete Gibernau set a new pole position record to head an all-Honda front row on the first day of qualifying for the Cinzano Rio Grand Prix. Gibernau had contested top spot for much of the session with Yamaha rival Valentino Rossi but the late surge for times saw Makoto Tamada and Alex Barros gatecrash the top three positions in second and third place respectively.

However, neither Tamada, who took his only podium here last season, or home favourite Barros, who set his fastest lap after a farcical crash, were able to get close to the Spaniard's time of 1'48.618 as Gibernau maintained an 0.679 second advantage at the top of the timesheet.

Despite single factory dominance on the front row, there is a mixed bag on the second row where Rossi, in fourth place, is joined by Ducati rider Loris Capirossi and Kawasaki's Shinya Nakano in fifth and sixth respectively. Max Biaggi was seventh fastest ahead of Honda colleague Nicky Hayden, who moved up eight places on his last lap, and Suzuki rider Kenny Roberts, who had joined Gibernau and Rossi in the tussle for early supremacy before slipping to ninth.

Carlos Checa edged his way up to tenth place with his last lap on a difficult first day for Yamaha as Marco Melandri and Norick Abe qualified fourteenth and fifteenth fastest respectively. Further down the order, David De Gea provisionally qualified on the WCM after stepping in as a late substitute for the injured Michel Fabrizio.

MotoGP, 2004

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