Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
Rossi snatches pole in dramatic qualifying practice at Le Mans

Valentino Rossi snatched pole position from his team-mate Colin Edwards in a
dramatic finale to qualifying for the Grand Prix Alice de France at Le Mans this
afternoon. With sunshine breaking through and drying the track after a wet
morning practice, the teams and riders worked frenetically throughout the
one-hour session to find a race set-up for tomorrow's fourth round of the 2005
MotoGP World Championship.

It was only the second dry practice of the weekend and the riders left it as
late as possible before switching to their qualifying tyres and providing a
nail-biting end to the session. Marco Melandri, Sete Gibernau, Nicky Hayden and
Shinya Nakano all posted strong challenges for pole position but were upstaged
by a virtuoso performance from the Yamaha pair, with Edwards moving to the top
of the time sheets before being dislodged by a new pole record of 1'33.226 from
the World Champion.

"This track wasn't so good for me last year so this pole position is very
important," said Rossi. "We suffered a little bit in the practice but we did a
great job in the hour we had this afternoon. The weather was good, the track
surface was good and we were able to take advantage of every available second,
working a lot on the tyres and the suspension. The race configuration is not
bad. I put in a qualifying tyre and I wasn't at 100% on the first lap, but the
second lap was perfect and the grip was excellent."

The intensity of the session saw twelve riders separated by just 0.765 seconds,
signifying virtual parity across the first four rows of the grid. Melandri
completes the front row in third place after dominating the session for long
periods, with his team-mate Gibernau just 0.002 seconds behind him at the head
of the second row in fourth. Hayden and Nakano complete the second row, with
John Hopkins heading up row three from Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa. Local
favourite Olivier Jacque qualified in thirteenth place, behind Loris Capirossi,
Alex Barros and Toni Elias.

Dani Pedrosa resumed control of the 250cc class with a dominant pole position at
a circuit he has enjoyed victory at for the past two seasons. Pedrosa was
dislodged from the top of the quarter-litre standings for the first time in over
a year by Andrea Dovizioso and Casey Stoner in the last round in China but
signalled his intentions today, qualifying 0.489 seconds ahead of Stoner.
Dovizioso, who leads the championship by 3 points from the Australian, missed
out on a front row start as he qualified fifth fastest behind Jorge Lorenzo and
Sebastian Porto. Home favourites Randy de Puniet and Sylvain Guintoli both start
from the second row after qualifying sixth and eighth respectively, with Alex de
Angelis sandwiched between the French pair.

In the 125cc class Thomas Luthi clinched the first pole position of his career
and became the first Swiss rider to do so in sixteen years, twice bettering Mika
Kallio's fastest lap with his final two efforts of an accident-strewn session.
Kallio had dominated for the majority of the session but was relegated to second
place by Luthi, with Hector Faubel and Gabor Talmacsi completing the front row.
Marco Simoncelli and Julian Simon both failed to improve their times from
yesterday and dropped to fifth and eighth place respectively, with Simon
escaping unhurt from a spectacular crash in the first chicane.

INFO 2005/55. 14-05-2005