Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
Gibernau sets pace on first day of practice at Jerez

Sete Gibernau was the quickest rider on a cool and cloudy opening day of action
at the Gran Premio Marlboro de España at Jerez on Friday. Due to the MotoGP
World Championship's new qualification format, which sees only the final session
contribute to the formation of Sunday's grid, today's two free practice sessions
presented the riders with a chance to build on the machine set-up work they had 
begun at this circuit during three days of tests two weeks ago. Gibernau went
head-to-head with Valentino Rossi almost as soon as the track opened for the
morning session, lapping inside pole record with a time of 1'40.800 as he looked
to strike the first psychological blow in what promises to be another colossal
challenge for the title between the pair. The pace set by the Spaniard and the
Italian was not bettered by any of the riders as the track cooled in the
afternoon, leaving the pair separated by just 0.086 seconds overnight.

"I think the good preseason the team have had, together with Honda and Michelin,
is starting to show," commented Gibernau. "We have to be satisfied with the
first day because we're on top and we've still got room for improvement. It's
the first time the afternoon session hasn't counted for qualifying and we used
it to find a good race setting, completing as many laps as possible on the race
tyres, and the pace we set was very satisfactory."

The young trio of Nicky Hayden, John Hopkins and Marco Melandri, the fastest
three riders from the final preseason test here, posed the biggest threat in the
afternoon and look certain to challenge for the podium in Sunday's race.
Meanwhile, Max Biaggi had a more than productive afternoon as he knocked a
spectacular 1.3 seconds off his morning lap time to move up to sixth place.

Shinya Nakano also made significant progress on the Kawasaki to end the session
seventh fastest ahead of Colin Edwards, who lost two tenths of a second from his
lap time between the morning and afternoon sessions after making set-up changes
to his Yamaha.

The qualification format remains the same as last year for the 250cc and 125cc
categories, who jostled for positions on the provisional starting grid this
afternoon. In the quarter-litre class Dani Pedrosa left it until the last lap to
upstage an otherwise dominant day for Aprilia. The Honda rider clocked a new
record lap of 1'43.025 to snatch provisional pole position from Sebastian Porto
and Casey Stoner, who had topped the time sheets for the majority of the
qualification session. With Porto and Stoner dropping to second and third
respectively, their factory colleague Randy de Puniet completes the provisional
front row in fourth.

Last year's winner Marco Simoncelli was the fastest rider in the 125cc session,
clocking a best time of 1'46.996 on the Aprilia. Simoncelli was closely chased
throughout the session by factory colleague and Italian compatriot Mattia
Pasini, whilst Honda's Swiss youngster Thomas Luthi continued his good form from
preseason testing to set the third fastest time. Mika Kallio completes the
provisional front row in fourth place on the KTM.

INFO 2005/24. 8-04-2005