Pedrosa takes home pole in historic qualifying

2007-03-24 04:05
Dani Pedrosa will start tomorrow's Gran Premio de España from pole position, after a blistering qualifying session at his home race. The Repsol Honda rider laid down a record breaking lap at the Circuito de Jerez to take his first top spot of the season, driving the tens of thousands of fans gathered at the Spanish track wild with delight. The session created the closest ever top ten in MotoGP history.

Pedrosa traded the fastest time honours with Valentino Rossi, and the two will start alongside each other on the front row at a race in which they are predicted to fight for the win all the way. The two were the quickest at last month's Official MotoGP Test, with Rossi emerging as the victor in a 40 minute shootout on that occasion, however this time they will do battle over 27 laps.

The pole-setting 1'39.402 lap from the 21 year old was just five hundredths of a second quicker than that of the five-time World Champion, with Carlos Checa just seven thousandths behind him. Checa has been on great form all week at his home track, and will start tomorrow from the front row after a long absence from the leading three.

Colin Edwards, Casey Stoner and John Hopkins, who on any other day might have taken pole with their jaw-dropping times, will follow the leading three from row two. Shinya Nakano picked up his pace to take seventh, ahead of Gresini Honda duo Toni Elias and Marco Melandri and Kenny Roberts Jr.

Reigning 250cc World Champion was at his dominant best in qualifying for tomorrow's race at the Circuito de Jerez. The Spanish star led the way this afternoon, quicker than arch-rival Hector Barbera at the track where the factory Aprilia rider took his first quarter litre victory last year, to put himself in a prime position to repeat his 2006 triumph.

The ex-teammates have had their run-ins in the past, and tempers were flaring on track with a number of angry gestures between the compatriots. Lorenzo and Barbera will lock horns tomorrow on the front row for the Gran Premio de España, with fellow Spaniard Julian Simon and 2006 World Championship runner-up Andrea Dovizioso all looking to take the holeshot when the red light goes out.

Reigning 125cc World Champion Alvaro Bautista, a non-finisher in Qatar two weeks ago, heads row two, followed by Marco Simoncelli, Shuhei Aoyama and Thomas Luthi.

Alex de Angelis suffered a small accident at low speed in the afternoon session, and will be disappointed to only start from 13th tomorrow.

The paddock awaits news of the condition of 250cc rider Roberto Locatelli, who suffered an horrific crash in this morning's practice session and remains in hospital at nearby Cadiz. The full extent of the popular veteran's injuries are not yet known.


Mattia Pasini will start tomorrow's 125cc Grand Prix from pole position, ahead of a number of his rivals for the lower cylinder category title. The Italian's 1'47.245 lap was enough to edge out Gabor Talmacsi, the poleman two weeks ago in Qatar.

Talmacsi once again edged out the rider below him on the timesheets, with Lukas Pesek this time missing out on the second spot. The Derbi rider was just two thousandths of a second off Talmacsi's time, lining up on the front row alongside home rider Sergio Gadea. Hector Faubel, Tomoyoshi Koyama, Pol Espargaro and Simone Corsi round off the top eight all separated by less than a second.

British rider Bradley Smith was the fastest Honda of the session, leading the way for the Japanese factory in eleventh.

A Spanish rider will be on pole for the first ever Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup race tomorrow afternoon, as Luis Salom will start the event for young talent ahead of Johann Zurco and Lorenzo Savadori. British riders Jamie Mossey and Matthew Hoyle join Swede Robert Gull in the top six.

The Gran Premio de España begins tomorrow at 11am local time, with the MotoGP race taking place at 2pm. Fans are reminded that clocks go forward one hour tonight in Spain, where time will then be GMT +2.

Source: Dorna Communications

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