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Gibernau snatches pole despite autumn snap at Brno

Gibernau snatches pole despite autumn snap at Brno

Gibernau snatches pole despite autumn snap at Brno

Sete Gibernau grabbed pole position with a brave ride at Brno today as autumn arrived early to the Czech Republic. Whilst hopes are high of a summer reprise for tomorrow, the MotoGP riders have only had one dry session to prepare their machines for the race after a bright morning free practice was eclipsed by thick clouds and heavy rain in the afternoon.

The conditions made it unlikely that any of the riders would improve on Carlos Checa's provisional pole time, which was set during a brief dry spell at the end of the first qualifying session yesterday, but Gibernau led a quintet of riders to usurp the Spaniard, who himself crashed out of a potential pole lap with eleven minutes remaining.

Alex Barros also splashed boldly through the rain with a late charge which moved him up to second place alongside Gibernau, with the Honda pair joined on the front row by Valentino Rossi on the Yamaha.

Rossi recovered from a problematic wet session yesterday to prove his competitiveness whatever Sunday's weather brings, lapping 0.688 seconds off the pole man and dislodging Ducati rider Troy Bayliss from the front row at the chequered flag.

However, fourth place represents an equal best grid position so far this season for Bayliss, who has gone from strength to strength in recent rounds and will be optimistic of a repeat of his podium performance at this circuit one year ago.

The Australian is joined on the second row by Honda's Colin Edwards and Yamaha rider Checa, who returned to the track at the end of the session but was unable to stage a late improvement on his provisional pole time and dropped to sixth place.

Max Biaggi hauled himself to within sight of the front riders thanks to a late lap which propelled him from provisional 16th place up to the third row in eighth. Biaggi lines up behind Honda colleague Nicky Hayden in seventh place whilst Ducati's Loris Capirossi makes up the third row in ninth.

Aprilia rider Shane Byrne will not be taking part in Sunday's race after suffering a dislocated wrist and mild concussion in a spectacular crash during the morning practice. However, there was better fortune for fellow rookies Kurtis Roberts and Michel Fabrizio, who recorded best ever grid positions in 14th and 18th place on the Proton and WCM machines respectively.

British Superbike regular James Ellison, who is making his MotoGP debut alongside Fabrizio at WCM, qualified 24th fastest and will start ahead of Kawasaki pair Shinya Nakano and Alex Hofmann.


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