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Interesting facts ahead of the race

Interesting facts ahead of the race

Interesting facts ahead of the race

> With less than six tenths of a second covering the top ten riders, this is the closest grid of the year in the MotoGP class.

> Carlos Checa starts from pole for the third time in his career and for the first time since 2002 at Estoril.

> Checa is the top Yamaha rider on the grid for the second time this year, the other being at Le Mans in May.

> Alex Barros starts from the front row for just the second time this year, his other being at Brno.

> For the first time in 2004 Barros is the top Honda rider on the grid.

> Sete Gibernau, who starts from the front row for the tenth time this year, finished on the podium at the first six races of 2004 but has had just two podium finishes in the last six races.

> For the third time this year Shinya Nakano starts from fifth place on the grid.

> For the eighth time this year Loris Capirossi is the top Ducati rider on the grid.

> Seventh place on the grid equals Ruben Xaus' best qualifying result of the year, which he achieved at Catalunya.

> If Valentino Rossi wins the Grand Prix of Qatar it will be his seventh win of the year. This would equal the record for most wins in a season in the premier-class by a Yamaha rider, previously achieved by Eddie Lawson in 1986 and 1988, and by Wayne Rainey in 1990.

> Rossi's eighth place on the grid equals his worst qualifying of the year at Rio.

> This is only the third time in 2004 that Rossi has not qualified on the front row.

> Following his victory at Motegi, if Makoto Tamada wins in Qatar he will become the first Japanese rider ever to take back-to-back wins in the premier-class.

> Qatar becomes the 27th country to hold a round of the MotoGP World Championship in its 55-year history.

> Nicky Hayden has not scored any points since Donington Park in July.


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