Italy's Valentino Rossi and France's Randy De Puniet set pole position records Friday in the first qualifying session for the Catalunya Grand Prix on Sunday.
Rossi timed 1 minute, 43.927 seconds around the 4.7-kilometer Catalan circuit as he broke Max Biaggi's 2002 qualifying lap record of 1:44.523 twice in the last five minutes of the MotoGP class.
"It was possible to go for a fast flying lap at the end and I could have gone even faster, but another rider was in the way," Rossi said.
With two minutes to go, Rossi went out with a fresh set of tires, broke Biaggi's record, and became the only rider to race below 1:44 in track temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius (113 F).
Joining Rossi on the provisional front row will be fellow Italian Loris Capirossi, Spain's Sete Gibernau and Japan's Shinya Nakano. The second qualifying session is Saturday.
In the 250cc class, De Puniet broke the two-year-old qualifying record with 1:47.117 on his last lap.
Joining him on the provisional front row is Tony Elias of Spain, Manuel Poggiali of San Marino and Franco Battaini from Italy.
Lucio Cecchinello earned the provisional pole in the 125cc class with 1.53.403, slower than the record pole time of 1:51.216 set by Manuel Poggiali last year.