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Rossi takes pole ahead of Edwards and Hayden

Rossi takes pole ahead of Edwards and Hayden

Rossi takes pole ahead of Edwards and Hayden

The MotoGP title chase undertook its latest twist this afternoon in qualifying for the Grande Premio de Portugal, with both Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden lining up on the front row for tomorrow's race. There is also added intrigue provided by the presence of both riders' team-mates in the immediate vicinity, perhaps acting as spoilers as they aim to help their colleagues.

Rossi took pole with a storming time of 1'36.200, taking his first ever front spot in Portugal but his fourth of the 2006 season. He lines up alongside Colin Edwards, who has stated that he will be looking to assist his Camel Yamaha colleague in Estoril.

Nicky Hayden joins the two Yamaha M1s on the front row, and knows that a good start will be essential if he is to prevent title rival Rossi from getting away. Carrying his good form over from his free practice performance this morning, the Kentucky Kid wasn't quite able to catch Rossi and Edwards but is still in a good position at the track where he has yet to finish higher than fourth.

Hayden was also accompanied by his team-mate on the timesheets, although Dani Pedrosa will line up on the second row. On his final flying lap, Casey Stoner had unintentionally impeded his fellow Honda rookie's progress, and later went into his garage to apologise. Stoner himself was just behind the Spaniard in fifth.

John Hopkins completed the top six, ahead of Shinya Nakano and Sete Gibernau. Carlos Checa and Loris Capirossi completed the top ten. de GP Portugal

1. Valentino Rossi - Camel Yamaha 1'36.200
2. Colin Edwards - Camel Yamaha 1'36.478
3. Nicky Hayden - Repsol Honda 1'36.549
4. Dani Pedrosa - Repsol Honda 1'36.569
5. Casey Stoner - Honda LCR 1'36.702
6. John Hopkins - Riza Suzuki 1'36.790
7. Shinya Nakano - Kawasaki Racing 1'36.790
8. Sete Gibernau - Ducati Marlboro 1'36.940
9. Carlos Checa - Tech 3 Yamaha 1'37.107
10. Loris Capirossi - Ducati Marlboro 1'37.182


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