Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
French Grand Prix
Le Mans, France
Saturday 14th May


Gauloises Yamaha Team riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards took the front
two positions on the starting grid for the French Grand Prix in a grand finale
to today's qualifying session. After a wet morning practice the thick clouds
were broken by bright sunshine that warmed the Le Mans circuit in the afternoon,
giving the riders a crucial opportunity to work on their race set-up for
tomorrow's fourth round of the MotoGP World Championship. It was the most
intense practice session of the season so far as the teams worked frantically in
the pit boxes and the riders pushed harder and harder towards a dramatic climax.

After setting the fastest time in the only other dry practice so far this
weekend, which took place in cool conditions yesterday morning, it was no
surprise when Edwards surged to the top of the time sheets with eight minutes
remaining. Having used a softer compound Michelin tyre for that lap, Edwards
then moved on to his qualifying tyres and posted two more scorching times, only
to be denied pole position by his irrepressible team-mate with a pair of
stunning laps of his own. Rossi's first effort proved decisive as he stopped the
clock at 1'33.226, some 0.199 seconds inside the pole position record, before
setting a second lap within a tenth of that time.

VALENTINO ROSSI - (1'33.226, 29 laps)

"This track wasn't so good for me last year so this pole position is very
important. 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. I'm really happy for Yamaha because Colin is
second today. He is a fast rider and his performance shows the potential of the
YZR-M1. I think we can both have a good race tomorrow."

COLIN EDWARDS (1'33.449, 28 laps)

"At last our hard work in the preseason and over the first three races is paying
off! We pulled the bikes off the truck on Friday morning and basically they
worked straight away. One of them had a simple base set-up and we dialled a few
things into the other one that we thought would work here, and they turned out
to be perfect. My race pace was really good and Michelin had the idea of putting
a slightly softer tyre on before switching to the qualifiers, which really
helped. The whole team have worked tremendously hard so far this season so this
is a welcome boost. The first corner should be a bit gnarly but I'm feeling
confident and, as I said yesterday, I'm ready to race whatever the weather."


"The team did a great job today, especially the riders. It is only Saturday but
we're very happy to have the top two places on the grid. We've worked hard for
the race and it seems both riders can keep a good pace and use all of the
potential of the bike. We'll see how it goes tomorrow but my dream is for the
same result!"


 1. VALENTINO ROSSI (ITA) Gauloises Yamaha Team  1'33.226 
 2. COLIN EDWARDS (USA) Gauloises Yamaha Team    1'33.449 
 3. Marco Melandri (ITA) Movistar Honda MotoGP   1'33.465


 4. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Movistar Honda MotoGP    1'33.467
 5. Nicky Hayden (USA) Repsol Honda Team         1'33.514
 6. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Kawasaki Racing Team     1'33.536


 7. John Hopkins (USA) Team Suzuki MotoGP        1'33.594
 8. Max Biaggi (ITA) Repsol Honda Team           1'33.699
 9. Carlos Checa (SPA) Ducati Marlboro Team      1'33.727