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Hayden smashes pole record at Donington Park

Hayden smashes pole record at Donington Park

Hayden smashes pole record at Donington Park

Whilst yesterday was Day of Champions at the Donington Park circuit, today was a day of surprises as Nicky Hayden took provisional pole position for the first time in his MotoGP career with a stunning new record.

Hayden's lap time of 1'29.295, on a newly laid track surface and under bright blue skies at the Leicestershire circuit, was 1.445 seconds quicker than the previous record held by Max Biaggi and came as the climax to an entertaining first day of action at the Cinzano British Grand Prix.

With just two minutes of the first qualifying session remaining, Carlos Checa moved to the top of the time sheets to spark a string of pole attacks from Hayden, Valentino Rossi, Ruben Xaus, Loris Capirossi and Colin Edwards.

Whilst all five riders were up on Checa's time through the fast first half of the track, only Hayden, Rossi and Capirossi were able to outpace the Spaniard in the slower final two sections, which feature a chicane and two hairpins, with the young Honda rider securing top spot by 0.289 seconds from Rossi.

"I came here with the intention of being the fastest man in at least one of the sessions so I am very happy to have done it on the first day," commented Hayden, who has finished on the podium at the last two consecutive races.

"Now I can concentrate on working from this base and really preparing well for Sunday. At the last two races I've been close, but not quite close enough, so this weekend I want to take that next step and make sure that I'm up there fighting for the win when it comes down to it in the last five laps."

With Capirossi making it three factories on the provisional front row with the third fastest time on the Ducati, Rossi's Yamaha team-mate Carlos Checa was bumped down to the provisional second row ahead of Honda duo Sete Gibernau and Colin Edwards.

Honda rider Max Biaggi, who trails Rossi by just one point in the championship, was seventh fastest and heads up the provisional third row from Marco Melandri, who rode through the pain barrier after breaking a bone in his hand in a crash during the morning free practice, when he was inadvertently knocked from his Yamaha by Kawasaki rider Alex Hofmann.

Ducati's Troy Bayliss and Honda man Alex Barros complete a top ten which is covered by less than a second.

Ruben Xaus also crashed out this morning but was uninjured and, after his pole effort at the end of the session faded dramatically, he will be satisfied to have qualified eleventh fastest ahead of improving Suzuki pair Kenny Roberts and John Hopkins. Xaus' D'Antin Ducati team-mate Neil Hodgson, riding in front of his home crowd for the first time since winning the World Superbike Championship, was fourteenth fastest.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2004, CINZANO BRITISH GRAND PRIX, QP1

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