Rossi on pole for Donnington....
23 July 2005
Two weeks after his worst finish of the season, a third place at Laguna Seca, Gauloises Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi restored order to the MotoGP world. The runaway championship leader was fastest in Saturday morning’s practice, then raced to the pole position in afternoon qualifying for Sunday’s British Grand Prix at Donington Park. The track, in the British Midlands, is something of a second home grand prix for the Italian who calls London home. It’s also a track where he’s won six times and nearly seven.
The fast lap was run with just over four minutes remaining in Saturday’s one hour session. There was the usual flurry of activity on the run up to and right after the checkered flag, but the name at the top didn’t change.
The lap of 1:27.897 was nearly a second under last year’s lap record and gave him a cushion of nearly 0.3 seconds on second place.
MoviStar Honda MotoGP’s Sete Gibernau moved to second at the very end of the session. The Spaniard had moved to the top near the 13 minute mark, only to see his time bettered by Rossi three minutes later. Gibernau dropped as far back as fourth before his late lap shot him up to the middle of the front row.
Teammate Marco Melandri took his turn at the top with around 6:30 to run, but Rossi’s fast lap came two minutes later and dropped his fellow Italian to second. Gibernau’s best lap pushed him down to third.
Camel Honda’s Alex Barros was briefly in third-before Gibernau’s flyer-with the Brazilian ending up fourth in front of Red Bull U.S. GP winner Nicky Hayden. Hayden had slotted into second just seconds after Rossi took over the top, then watched his position drop down to fifth, over half a second back of the reigning world champion.
Gauloises Yamaha’s Colin Edwards, second in the past two races, filled out the second row.
Camel Honda’s Troy Bayliss took seventh fastest, just .006 in front of Repsol Honda’s Max Biaggi. The third row ended with Konica Minolta Honda’s Makoto Tamada.
Suzuki’s John Hopkins was on the fourth row pole, in tenth, and six spots in front of his teammate Kenny Roberts.
Rossi has won in four classes at Donington Park, 125cc, 250cc, 500cc, and MotoGP. Following his 250cc GP win in 1999, he’s won every premier class race. But in 2003 he was demoted from first to third after being assessed a 10 second penalty for passing under a waving yellow flag. The win went to Max Biaggi.
1. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:27.897
2. Sete Gibernau (Honda) 1:28.182
3. Marco Melandri (Honda) 1:28.295
4. Alex Barros (Honda) 1:28.394
5. Nicky Hayden (Honda) 1:28.415
6. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:28.656
7. Troy Bayliss (Honda) 1:28.720
8. Max Biaggi (Honda) 1:28.726
9. Makoto Tamada (Honda) 1:28.976
10. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 1:29.231
16. Kenny Roberts (Suzuki) 1:30.260
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