Catalunya GP: Gibernau claims pole

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:52 IST

Sete Gibernau claimed pole position for the MotoGP Grand Prix of Catalunya, with world champion Valentino Rossi of Italy qualifying in third place.

Catalunya GP: Gibernau claims pole

Barcelona:

Sete Gibernau claimed pole position for the MotoGP Grand Prix of Catalunya, with world champion Valentino Rossi of Italy qualifying in third place. The Barcelona-born Honda rider, who has endured a miserable start to the season, clocked a record time of 1 minute, 42.337 seconds.He edged his Italian teammate Marco Melandri into second place by 0.053 seconds. Taking no chancesGibernau has never won his home Grand Prix, although he has recorded top three finishes on three occasions, including the last two years. The Catalan has often been outwitted by world champion Valentino Rossi in qualifying, leading throughout all four practice sessions only for the six-times world champion to pip him in the last few seconds of the final one. On Saturday he took no chances, beating the record time he set to take pole position last year with 15 minutes of qualifying remaining, then setting another new mark on his final lap of the day. It was the ninth pole position of Gibernau's career.Good speedMelandri, who was quickest over Friday's two sessions and Saturday's earlier practice, clocked one minute, 42.390 seconds and will start alongside the Spaniard. Rossi, who has won six times in all classes at the Montmelo track, including last year's MotoGP race, and leads Melandri by 49 points in the title race, rounded out the front row of the grid. The Italian, who seeks his fifth win in six races this season for Yamaha, was 0.333 seconds further back. Italian Max Biaggi, another top Honda rider looking to end a run without victory, was hoping to build on last week's impressive performance in Italy, where he fought, ultimately in vain, for the victory with Rossi. The Roman was fourth quickest and he will be joined on the second row of the grid by his American teammate Nicky Hayden and Ducati's Loris Capirossi. Early impressionsFormer world superbike champion Colin Edwards impressed on his Yamaha early on and looked set for a good starting position, but he was pushed back into seventh as the seconds ticked away. Spain's Daniel Pedrosa claimed the pole position on a Honda in the 250cc category with a time of one minute, 46.238 seconds, out pacing countryman Jorge Lorenzo by 0.379 seconds and Argentina's Sebastian Porto by 0.468 seconds. Finn Mika Kallio secured pole position for the 125cc race in a time of one minute, 51.451 seconds, giving the KTM rider the best possible start as he looks to close the eight-point gap on Swiss championship leader Thomas Luthi. (AP)



Topics : Formula 1
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