Repsol Honda's Valentino Rossi set a new lap record at the Phakisa Freeway circuit in Welkom, South Africa today, putting his Honda V-five on provisional pole position for Sunday's MotoGP Rossi's best lap was .144 of a second better than Marlboro Ducati's Loris Capirossi, the two Italians leading Spaniard Sete Gibernau and his Telefonica MoviStar Honda. The provisoinal front row was filled by Marlboro Ducati's Troy Bayliss, the Australian in his first outing at the Welkcom circuit. As for the Americans, the best of the bunch was Alice Aprilia's Colin Edwards, the Texan lapping at 1:34.413 to end up seventh overall. Repsol Honda's Nicky Hayden turned in a 1:34.739 (1.2 seconds off Rossi's best) to end up 12th, two spots better than Suzuki's Kenny Roberts Jr. Roberts' teammate John Hopkins finished the day 17th. Friday Qualifying 1. Valentino Rossi (Honda) 1:33.442 2. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 1:33.586 3. Sete Gibernau (Honda) 1:33.961 4. Troy Bayliss (Ducati) 1:34.322 5. Tohru Ukawa (Honda) 1:34.334 6. Max Biaggi (Honda) 1:34.364 7. Colin Edwards (Aprilia) 1:34.413 8. Alex Barros (Yamaha) 1:34.426 9. Shinya Nakano (Yamaha) 1:34.535 10. Jeremy McWilliams (Proton) 1:34.617 12. Nicky Hayden (Honda) 1:34.739 14. Kenny Roberts Jr. (Suzuki) 1:34.963 17. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 1:35.068

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Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.

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