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Gibernau bursts back to life at Brno

Gibernau bursts back to life at Brno

Gibernau bursts back to life at Brno

Sete Gibernau pulverised the pole position record at the Brno circuit to secure the front slot on the grid for Sunday's eleventh round of the MotoGP World Championship in front of a packed crowd in the Czech Republic today. After finishing second to Valentino Rossi in the series for the past two seasons, Gibernau has yet to win a race this term but his performance in hot and sunny conditions this afternoon suggested that he may be ready to repeat his victory at this track from last year and finally ignite a stuttering campaign. The Spaniard lapped 1.265 seconds inside Rossi's previous pole record, clocking a best a time of 1'57.504, to hold off late challenges from his Yamaha rival, as well as Honda rider Nicky Hayden and Ducati's Loris Capirossi.

"That was a difficult day but I think we're doing a good job in the team and with Michelin," said Gibernau. "Here at Brno the races are always very long and it's difficult to get away - there are always a lot of people at the front of the race. There are lots of places to pass and overtake, many things can happen on the last lap, in the last corner, and we'll have to watch for that. Loris and Nicky are very fast so it will be close."

Rossi's final effort fell 0.371 seconds short of Gibernau's benchmark and wasn't even good enough for a front row position as Hayden and Capirossi took second and third place respectively. The series leader will start from the second row of the grid in fourth as he aims to pick up the first of just two more victories that would guarantee the title for a fifth successive season. Capirossi again made a flying start to the day, clocking the fastest time in the morning free practice as he had done yesterday before challenging for top spot throughout the afternoon. Hayden, meanwhile, continued a run of excellent qualifying form that had seen him take pole position for two of the previous three rounds.

Marco Melandri will aim to hold off Gibernau for second place in the championship from the second row of the grid. The Italian youngster lies just one point ahead of his Honda team-mate, 120 points adrift of Rossi in the current standings, and he will aim to defend that position from fifth place at a circuit where he has already celebrated victory on three occasions in the minor categories. Carlos Checa qualified sixth fastest to seal the final spot on the second row and complete an encouraging day for Ducati.

Lap record holder Alex Barros will launch his charge from the third row of the grid after qualifying seventh fastest ahead of American riders John Hopkins and Colin Edwards. Behind them, Max Biaggi and Shinya Nakano complete a list of eleven riders to have lapped within a single second of Gibernau's pole time, ensuring close racing all the way through the order tomorrow. Jeremy McWilliams will make his first MotoGP appearance of the season for Proton Team KR after qualifying in 22nd place, despite only completing three laps in this afternoon's session before suffering technical problems.


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