Gibernau recovers from crash to grab lead

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The Independent Online

Sete Gibernau, the MotoGp world championship leader recovered from a crash in yesterday's free practice session to claim the provisional pole in the Catalunya Grand Prix.

Sete Gibernau, the MotoGp world championship leader recovered from a crash in yesterday's free practice session to claim the provisional pole in the Catalunya Grand Prix.

The 31-year-old Spaniard posted a pole record lap of 1min 42.934sec for the Circuit de Catalunya to beat Max Biaggi to the top position on the grid. Biaggi's team-mate Makoto Tamada, of Japan, completed the all-Honda front row, pushing the world champion Valentino Rossi into fourth place.

"I wasn't expecting to get into the 1:42s here, but once again the times are coming easily to me because everything is in the right place," said Gibernau. "We had a slight setback this morning because we didn't quite have the front set-up right but the team did a great job and on my final two outings I found a really good feeling. I did a good time on the race tyre and on the qualifier it was sensational."

The American Nicky Hayden and Rossi's Yamaha team-mate, Carlos Checa, completed the provisional second row, while Barros, Shinya Nakano and Marco Melandri were on the third. Suzuki's former world champion Kenny Roberts and his fellow American John Hopkins, who are due to try out new factory engines in the race, had a promising start but finished 12th and 13th respectively.

Yamaha's Rossi and Checa set the early pace but were unable to withstand the late Honda charge, although they will have a chance to better their positions on the grid in today's second qualifying session.

CATALUNYA GRAND PRIX (Barcelona) MotoGP provisional grid positions (after first official practice): 1 S Gibernau (Sp) Honda 1min 42.934sec; 2 M Biaggi (It) Honda 1:43.563; 3 M Tamada (Japan) Honda 1:43.708; 4 V Rossi (It) Yamaha 1:43.710; 5 N Hayden (US) Honda 1:43.840; 6 C Checa (Sp) Yamaha 1:43.860; 7 A Barros (Br) Honda 1:43.911; 8 S Nakano (Japan) Kawasaki 1:43.948; 9 M Melandri (It) Yamaha 1:44.071; 10 T Bayliss (Aus) Ducati 1:44.277.

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