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Gibernau keeps hopes alive with pole

Gibernau keeps hopes alive with pole

Gibernau keeps hopes alive with pole

Sete Gibernau breathed life into his slim hopes of winning the MotoGP World Championship with pole position for the Cinzano Australian Grand Prix today.

The Spaniard needs to score at least six points more than Valentino Rossi in order to take the title fight to his home race at Valencia, the final round of the season, in two weeks time and gave himself every opportunity with a new pole record at the Phillip Island circuit as Rossi failed to improve on his provisional qualifying time and dropped to second place.

"I have felt comfortable with the bike right from the first session and we have been able to concentrate on working in the same direction and preparing for the race," commented Gibernau, who clocked a best lap of 1'30.122.

"Everything is much easier when things are back to normal and even though we know it will be a long and hard race I think we are ready for anything. The pace is fast, the rhythm is good, and we know what tyre to use. Now we have to concentrate on making a good start, setting our rhythm and thinking only about ourselves - give everything without thinking about what is going on behind."

Today's events promise an intriguing battle tomorrow, with added spice coming from the news that Gibernau's current Honda team-mate Colin Edwards will be joining Rossi as part of the factory Yamaha effort next season. Edwards starts from just behind the Spaniard in fourth place after missing out on the final front row spot to Loris Capirossi by 0.012 seconds and could help deny Rossi the title tomorrow by finishing second should Gibernau win.

Makoto Tamada made improvements today to move alongside Edwards in fifth place, relegating Alex Barros to sixth on an all-Honda second row. Tamada's effort knocked his team-mate Max Biaggi out to seventh place whilst the late movement at the front of the grid saw Alex Hofmann drop from the second row to the third in his best qualifying performance of the season.

The German lines up in his highest ever grid position of eighth place on the Kawasaki and is joined on the outside of the third row by home favourite Troy Bayliss on the Ducati.

Nicky Hayden, who stood on the podium for the first time in MotoGP at this track last season, had a disappointing second day and failed to improve his provisional time, dropping to fourteenth place on the grid. Hayden starts one place behind Carlos Checa, who confirmed today that he will be leaving Yamaha at the end of the season to make way for Edwards.


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