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Gibernau leads Honda resistance in Germany

Gibernau leads Honda resistance in Germany

Gibernau leads Honda resistance in Germany

Sete Gibernau responded from his disappointment at Rio two weeks ago to set provisional pole position for the Veltins Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland this afternoon.

The Spanish rider lost the opportunity to move clear at the top of the MotoGP World Champoinship standings with his crash in Brazil but memories of his last-corner victory over Valentino Rossi at this circuit one year ago inspired him to a new pole record of 1'23.247, the fastest ever lap of the Sachsenring circuit by a motorcycle.

Gibernau's Honda colleague Nicky Hayden posted the second fastest time in an exciting climax to the session, missing out on pole by 0.206 seconds but sealing a potentially crucial front row slot should rain forecasts be confirmed in tomorrow's final qualifying practice. The final front row position went to Rossi, who had been the quickest rider in the morning session on his Yamaha but succumbed to the Honda resistance fronted by Gibernau and Hayden in the afternoon.

Alex Barros made it three Hondas in the top four, sealing the front spot on the provisional second row as he used a new exhaust system for the first time. Kenny Roberts Jr., who took pole position in the last round at Rio, continued his good qualifying form on the Suzuki with the fifth fastest time whilst his team-mate John Hopkins also showed signs of improvement in seventh, one place behind fellow youngster Marco Melandri on the Yamaha.

Carlos Checa spent much of the morning and afternoon sessions contesting top spot with team-mate Rossi but eventually slid down to eighth place, with Max Biaggi also losing ground in the late push for times and completing the provisional third row in ninth.

Ducati riders Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss had a satisfactory first day at the office, lapping tenth and twelfth fastest respectively as they begin their challenge of both finishing in the top four as they did here last season. Makoto Tamada, the surprise winner of the race in Rio, was eleventh fastest on the Honda.


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