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Vermeulen takes first pole in drenched MotoGP qualifying session

Vermeulen takes first pole in drenched MotoGP qualifying session

Vermeulen takes first pole in drenched MotoGP qualifying session

Riders, teams and spectators were joined this morning by the unwelcome presence of rain at the Istanbul Park Circuit in Turkey. Almost simultaneously starting to fall as the 125cc riders took to the track, the rain guaranteed that the day would be unpredictable as the wet weather served as the great equaliser between bikes.

MotoGP rookie Chris Vermeulen used the adverse conditions to his advantage, putting in fast laps at the midway stage and riding with control and poise for his first ever MotoGP pole position. After a problematic race in Qatar, the Rizla Suzuki rider is in a strong position to place well in Sunday's race. His quickest lap of 2'04.617 was slower than yesterday's free practice leading riders in the dry.

The young Australian didn't have it easy though. In front of a respectable audience in the Turkish grandstand, American Nicky Hayden battled for the top spot throughout the last half hour. In the closing moments of the session, the Repsol Honda rider was seemingly on course to take the lead with both he and Vermeulen on hot laps. However it wasn't to be for the Kentucky kid, as he went offroad to his obvious annoyance.

Sete Gibernau also made a late surge. His final lap of the Istanbul Park track resulted in his demoting team-mate Loris Capirossi to fourth, with both Ducatis having opened the day well as the two fastest riders in free practice.

To add to Suzuki's joy, John Hopkins' steady run ensured that both of their riders will start tomorrow on the front two rows.

Randy de Puniet, one of the few riders to remain without points so far this season, put in the sixth fastest time of the session, ahead of Casey Stoner. LCR Honda's sole rider suffered two crashes during free practice as the weather hindered his final chance of becoming MotoGP's youngest race winner tomorrow.

Shinya Nakano clocked the eighth fastest time of the qualifying session, ahead of Americans Colin Edwards and Kenny Roberts Jr. Edwards suffered a contusion of his left shoulder after falling in the morning.

World Champion Valentino Rossi is still yet to earn a pole position in 2006, and as in Jerez will start the race off the front two rows of the grid having qualified eleventh.

GP of Turkey
MotoGP - QP
1. Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki) - 2'04.617
2. Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda) - 2'04.823
3. Sete Gibernau (Ducati Marlboro) - 2'05.003
4. Loris Capirossi (Ducati Marlboro) - 2'05.540
5. John Hopkins (Rizla Suzuki) - 2'05.570
6. Randy de Puniet (Kawasaki Racing Team) - 2'06.102
7. Casey Stoner (Honda LCR) -2'07.277
8. Shinya Nakano (Kawasaki Racing Team) - 2'07.294
9. Colin Edwards (Camel Yamaha) - 2'07.344
10. Kenny roberts Jr. (Team Roberts) - 2'07.345


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