Gibernau clocks fastest time in MotoGP qualifier

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:04 IST

Honda's Sete Gibernau set a lap time of 1 minute 48.618 seconds around the 4.933-kilometre Nelson Piquet circuit.

Gibernau clocks fastest time in MotoGP qualifier

Rio de Janeiro:

Honda's Sete Gibernau threw down the gauntlet to his rival Valentino Rossi after qualifying practice for Sunday's Grand Prix of Rio on Friday, with a lap time of 1 minute 48.618 seconds around the 4.933-kilometre Nelson Piquet circuit. The Spaniard was over half a second quicker than Japan's Makoto Tamada and local hero Alex Barros, with Honda machines taking the first three places, while world champion Rossi could only manage fourth fastest on his Yamaha, more than seven tenths of a second off the pace. With world champion Valentino Rossi having won the last three MotoGP events, and been victorious on his last six visits to Rio, the man he shares the lead with in the current world championship standings could be forgiven for a loss of confidence during qualifying practice for Sunday's Grand Prix of Rio. But Spain's Sete Gibernau is clearly made of sterner stuff and roared around the Nelson Piquet circuit in 1 minute 48. 618 seconds, the only rider to break 1 minute 49 on the day. It was also a good day for Honda, who filled the top three places. Makoto Tamada of Japan took second place, 0.679 seconds behind Gibernau and just two one-thousandths quicker than local hero Alex Barros, who recovered from an embarrassing tumble to qualify in third. World champion Rossi could only manage fourth fastest on his Yamaha, over seven tenths of a second behind Gibernau. But with his record, the first practice session could have been just a warm up for the Italian. Rossi's compatriot, Loris Capirossi, was fifth on a Ducati and Kawasaki's Shinya Nakano was sixth, eclipsing the Hondas of both the great Max Biaggi and the 22 year old Ameican Nicky Hayden. After the session, Gibernau was keen to point out that this was only the first practice session, not the race itself. The 250cc class was won by the championship leader, Randy de Puniet, aboard an Aprilia, the Frenchman edging out Spain's Daniel Pedrosa by five hundredths of a second. Sebastian Porto of Argentina, making up a trio of Aprilia's at the top of the classification, was third. In the 125cc qualification, Spain's Hector Barbera drove his Aprilia for a fastest lap of 1 minute 57.740 seconds, over four tenths quicker than Roberto Locatelli of Italy. Another Spaniard, Jorge Lorenzo, was third aboard a Derbi machine. (AP)

Topics : Formula 1
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