Motorcycling: Hayden heads up Honda's youthful assault on Rossi
Saturday 29 April 2006
Honda's young guns, led by the 24-year-old American Nicky Hayden, dominated the opening sessions of practice at the Turkish MotoGP in Istanbul yesterday, while Valentino Rossi, seeking a win in his 100th appearance in the class, languished in 11th place.
Hayden, who passed Rossi three times at the last race in Qatar, hammered out a lap of the 3.3-mile circuit in 1min 53.623sec. He was followed by Australia's Casey Stoner, 20, the Italian Marco Melandri, 23, and the Spaniards Dani Pedrosa, 20, and Toni Elias, 23, all on 990cc, five-cylinder Honda RC211Vs.
Stoner and Pedrosa, in their first season on the 250-horsepower bikes, showed astonishing cool as they exited the track's daunting fifth-gear right-hander at almost 190mph. It was a display that totally justified Honda's youth policy, as they attempt to wrest the title from Rossi and Yamaha.
Honda's race chiefs, however, know that Rossi and his track-savvy crew chief, Jerry Burgess, will aim to put his Yamaha YZR-M1 on the front row in today's qualifying, and to dominate tomorrow's contest on the 14-corner circuit.
The championship leader, Loris Capirossi, also made a steady start yesterday, taking seventh place on his Marlboro Ducati.
Ducati are currently leading the Japanese makers in motorcycling's two premier championships - MotoGP and World Superbikes - and are relishing this opportunity to show off the blazing power of their Desmosedici GP6 grand prix bike.
James Ellison, Britain's sole MotoGP contender, was only 17th fastest on the Tech 3 Yamaha, 3.32sec slower than Hayden, but only a 10th of a second slower than his very experienced team-mate Carlos Checa, who is making his 185th start.
Latest in Sport
Michael Schumacher: Ferrari president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo admits he is still in shock over accident
Jose Mourinho claims Cristiano Ronaldo and his Real Madrid team-mates spend too much time looking in the mirror
Is this the cutest pitch invasion ever? Brazil squad embrace young South African fan in heartwarming scenes after friendly match
QPR financial results: Rangers face £50m fine in top flight of debtors
World Cup 2014: Sam Wallace picks his England squad - is there a place for Andy Carroll, and who wins the battle between Luke Shaw and Ashley Cole?
- 3 Channel 4 announces two-hour TV show to be broadcast 'Live from Space' later this month
- 4 Man stabbed with Legend of Zelda Master Sword in serious condition
- 5 Study suggests that 'gaydars' are real - at least for women
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...
£40k to £50k pa OTE £80k: Charter Selection: My client, a leading profitable a...
£46,141 to £51,816: Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland: The PPS i...