Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi took his first pole of the season, and first in nearly a year, in advance of Sunday's Italian Grand Prix on his home track of Mugello in the hills of Tuscany above Florence, Italy. Seeking his third win in a row, and seventh consecutive at Mugello, Rossi turned the fastest ever lap on a 90-plus degree day at Mugello. The lap of 1:48.130 mins. bested the previous mark of 1:48.969 set by Spaniard Sete Gibernau in 2006. Rossi’s last pole came in Catalunya almost a year ago, his fourth and final pole of the 2007 season. Asked if he could win his seventh race in a row at Mugello, he said, “For sure we try, because I was quite worried about the practice of this morning because we had some problem of the setting. “But I have to say thank you to all my team, to Jeremy (Burgess), to all my guys, because we make modify the bike and give me a lot of feeling and a lot of speed in the corners, so I understand I’m quite fast with the race tires. We try two different race tires, but we have to wait for tomorrow for the condition and we arrive in a good shape for the qualify. “But is a long, long time ago for my last pole position. Now I don’t remember, but we work a lot with Bridgestone for improve these tires and in this track I ride always good, so I try to push and 48.1 is a great, great lap." Rossi will be joined in the front row by Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and fellow Italian Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki). "With Loris (Capirossi) behind I see and I’m happy that are two Italians in front, because for tomorrow we wait for a lot, a lot of crowd," Rossi said.” Pedrosa (1:48.297) set his time after time had expired, while Capirossi (1:48.313) set his much earlier, before he was demoted to third by Pedrosa. It was Capirossi’s first front row start on the Suzuki. “Of course pushing to get the best setting for the race and I think it will be a very hard race, because the riders are going very fast and the race will be also demanding for the tires and the bike so I think we have to look for something this afternoon for tomorrow’s race,” Pedrosa said. Marlboro Ducati’s Casey Stoner jumped to fourth after the hour finished. That put him pole on the second row just in front of Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards, who rose to third a few seconds before the end of the session, only to be knocked back by Pedrosa and Stoner. Repsol Honda’s Nicky Hayden, who went from tenth to fifth with roughly 39 seconds remaining, qualified sixth. Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo, who took pole in the first three races, will start seventh in his first MotoGP race in Mugello. Next to him are Tech 3 Yamaha’s James Toseland and Gresini Honda’s Shinya Nakano. Kawasaki’s John Hopkins starts 14th. MotoGP Qualifying: 1. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:48.130 2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:48.297 3. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 1:48.313 4. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:48.375 5. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:48.383 6. Nicky Hayden (Honda) 1:48.666 7. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:48.905 8. James Toseland (Yamaha) 1:49.025 9. Shinya Nakano (Honda) 1:49.095 10. Alex de Angelis (Honda) 1:49.145 Other: 14. John Hopkins (Kawasaki) 1:49.601

MotoGP News

By Cycle News Staff

Comments