Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
Hayden sets pace on damp first day at Shanghai

Nicky Hayden was the fastest man on the first ever day of MotoGP action at the
Shanghai International Circuit in mixed weather conditions on Friday. With the
riders taking the opportunity to learn the impressive circuit layout in the
morning, a spell of light lunchtime rain left track conditions unpredictable in
the afternoon and made it impossible for anybody to improve on Hayden's fastest
lap of 2'02.327. "The track is okay, there are a couple of strange corners but
overall I like it" reflected Hayden at the end of the demanding first day. "I
especially like the surface - the grip is really good and there is a lot of
feeling. It was nice to be quickest this morning but this afternoon was pretty
tough. We were in good shape with full wets but we had a few problems in the
middle of the session when it started to dry."

Whilst Marco Melandri was second fastest in the morning session, delayed by two
and a half hours due to a minor mechanical problem with the medical helicopter,
Sete Gibernau completed a Honda top three ahead of Carlos Checa on the Ducati
and Yamaha's Valentino Rossi. However, in the damp afternoon conditions it was
the turn of Suzuki to top the time sheets with Kenny Roberts, who clocked the
fastest time of the session on his last lap with an effort just over 12 seconds
slower than Hayden's dry time.

Alex Barros, winner of the second round of the season in similar conditions at
Estoril in Portugal two weeks ago, again showed his expertise in the wet with
the second fastest time behind Roberts. Gibernau, who crashed in the morning but
escaped unhurt, was again third fastest in the afternoon ahead of Troy Bayliss
and Max Biaggi, who made it four Hondas in the top five. Whilst Rossi was sixth
fastest in the afternoon ahead of Marco Melandri and Colin Edwards, the surprise
of the session came from Franco Battaini, eleventh quickest riding the Blata WCM
machine. Olivier Jacque was also impressive, the former 250cc World Champion
lapping twelfth fastest on his return to MotoGP as a replacement for the injured
Alex Hofmann at Kawasaki.

The drying conditions in the afternoon allowed the majority of 250cc riders to
improve on their morning times as they jostled for positions on the provisional
starting grid, with the possibility of more rain tomorrow making for an
interesting first qualifying session. Casey Stoner continued his recent form,
following up victory at Estoril with a provisional pole position time some 0.2
seconds quicker than nearest challenger Andrea Dovizioso. Sebastian Porto,
quickest in the morning session, and Dani Pedrosa complete the provisional front
row for the quarter-litre class.

Fabrizio Lai took provisional pole position for the 125cc race in fully wet
conditions, with light drizzle falling throughout the session. Whilst early
championship leader Mika Kallio led the way in dry conditions in the morning,
Honda rider Lai showed his prowess in the afternoon ahead of Kallio's KTM
team-mate Mika Kallio. The surprise of the session was rookie teenager Aleix
Espargar, who was third fastest, whilst his Spanish compatriot Julian Simon
completes the provisional front row.

INFO 2005/46. 29-04-2005