Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
Gibernau sets the pace on enemy territory

Sete Gibernau braved the wrath of the passionate home supporters at Mugello this
afternoon with the fastest lap on the opening day of free practice at the Gran
Premio Alice d'Italia. In searing afternoon temperatures the Spaniard lapped
almost half a second inside his own circuit record, clocking a best time of
1'50.662 despite a technical problem at the end of the session to dislodge
Valentino Rossi from the top of the time sheets after the local hero had
dominated the morning practice.

"On my last run the pit-lane speed limiter got stuck so I did the whole lap at
80km/h," explained Gibernau. "I went back into the box and they saw what it was
straight away but there wasn't enough time to go back out for a fast lap. The
rhythm we set today wasn't bad but I'm hopeful of improving it tomorrow if the
weather stays good. We also have to choose which tyre we're going to use, which
will be very important for the race."

Whilst Rossi was unable to improve on his morning time as the summer sunshine
scorched the Mugello asphalt in the afternoon, the only other rider to move
above him on the day's combined time sheets was his fellow Italian Max Biaggi.
The Honda rider's best effort fell just 0.018 seconds short of factory colleague
Gibernau and provides his army of fans, banked as always in the hillside above
the Casanova and Savelli corners, with plenty of reason for optimism as he guns
for his first premier-class victory at this circuit on Sunday.

Carlos Checa may be Spanish but he is also counting on huge backing this weekend
as a grandstand of 3,000 Ducati fans at the Correntaio corner lend their support
to himself and his team-mate Loris Capirossi. The pair warmed up with the fourth
and fifth fastest times today after both leading the session for brief spells.

Alex Barros, the only rider to finish a race ahead of Rossi so far this season,
shook off the effects of a back injury sustained in a crash at Le Mans three
weeks ago to clock the sixth fastest time as he looks to repeat his victory here
from 2001. Nicky Hayden was unable to improve his time this afternoon after
lapping fourth fastest in the morning, dropping to seventh overall ahead of
Marco Melandri, who escaped unhurt from a crash in the second session.

Makoto Tamada and Alex Hofmann both made a successful return to action today
after missing the last three rounds with wrist injuries, completing 22 and 36
laps respectively and clocking the 11th and 15th fastest times. David Checa,
riding as a replacement for the injured Toni Elias, made an impressive MotoGP
debut with the 17th fastest time - just over a second behind his temporary
Yamaha team-mate Ruben Xaus - despite also crashing after just three laps in the

Casey Stoner took provisional pole position for the 250cc class after a string
of fast laps that saw him establish a comfortable advantage of 0.254 seconds
over Alex de Angelis. Sebastian Porto dropped to third fastest after briefly
leading the standings in the closing stages whilst Daniel Pedrosa, who leads the
World Championship by four points from Andrea Dovizioso, completes the
provisional front row in fourth place. Dovizioso provisionally qualified on the
third row in ninth place as Jorge Lorenzo, Randy de Puniet, Hector Barbera and
Hiroshi Aoyama all sealed potential second row slots.

Series leader Mika Kallio celebrated provisional pole position for the 125cc
race after holding off the challenge of local rider Mattia Pasini, who made an
impressive comeback after missing the last round with a fractured arm. Kallio,
who currently leads the World Championship by 12 points from Thomas Luthi, set a
scorching final lap of 1'59.288 to remain out of reach of Pasini by 0.488
seconds. Hector Faubel and Fabrizio Lai complete the provisional front row, with
Luthi qualifying on the outside of second row in eighth place. The surprise of
the session was local wildcard Michele Conti, who was ninth fastest.

INFO 2005/62. 3-06-2005