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Xaus takes first provisional pole

Xaus takes first provisional pole

Xaus takes first provisional pole

Ruben Xaus took the first ever MotoGP provisional pole position in Qatar and the first of his career in an exciting first qualifying practice at the Losail International Circuit this afternoon. The Spanish rookie, who has had to learn several new circuits already this season, took advantage of the fact that all of his rivals were riding here for the first time and clocked a best lap of 2'01.309 to top the time sheets.

Colin Edwards also adapted quickly to the new circuit, lapping fastest in the morning free practice and setting the second quickest time in the afternoon. The American's team-mate Sete Gibernau, who trails Valentino Rossi by 39-points at the top of the championship, was third fastest and completes the provisional front row.

Rossi joined the second row on his final lap after languishing down in thirteenth with just seconds remaining of the session. The Italian, who was 1.965 seconds down on Xaus' best time, moved up to sixth place behind Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi, who were fourth and fifth respectively.

Nicky Hayden equalled Rossi's time but finds himself on the provisional third row in seventh place, with compatriot John Hopkins battling through the pain of broken ribs to qualify in eighth. Shinya Nakano joins the American pair in ninth place.

Neil Hodgson, team-mate to pole man Xaus, also flirted with the top positions but was caught out in the final push for times and slid back to tenth. Hodgson is joined on the provisional fourth row by Alex Barros and Loris Capirossi.


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