Gibernau record steals pole from Hayden
By Alan Crosby
BRNO, Czech Republic (Reuters) – Spain’s Sete Gibernau set
a qualifying lap record to take pole position at the Czech
Grand Prix on Saturday, narrowly outpacing fellow Honda rider
Gibernau, winner of last year’s race at the undulating and
wide open 5.4 km Masaryk circuit, laid down a lap of one minute
57.504 seconds to steal the pole from the American Hayden, who
seconds earlier had posted a lap of 1:57.551.
Loris Capirossi on a Ducati fills out the front row for
Sunday’s race, while his Italian compatriot and champion
Valentino Rossi could only manage fourth on the grid.
“Normally here in Brno the race is long and hard with many
different places to pass and overtake. Many things here happen
in the last lap, the last corner, we have to be ready for
that,” Gibernau said after taking his third pole of the season.
The 32-year-old should know after losing to Rossi in 2003
on the last lap, before holding him off last year in the final
corner to win.
Rossi, just two wins away from clinching the World MotoGP
crown for the fifth consecutive year, may have little to worry
about despite being off the front row.
He placed fourth in qualifying this season in both China
and Germany before going on to win each of those races.
Overall, he has taken eight of 10 checkered flags this
season, and already holds a 120-point lead in the championship,
the greatest advantage that any rider has enjoyed at this stage
in the competition.
Rossi needs one more win to equal his total of nine from
last year and that puts him within sight of Australian Mick
Doohan’s record of 12 victories in a single season.
A win at Brno would also put Rossi clear in third place in
total GP victories, behind only Giacomo Agostini and Angel
Nieto. Rossi is tied with Mike Hailwood’s total of 76 GP
In 250cc, it was a Spanish one-two in qualifying with Jorge
Lorenzo pipping points leader Daniel Pedrosa by 0.003 seconds
to take pole.
In 125cc, standings leader Thomas Luethi clinched pole
position in the final qualifying session, his second this year.