Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
Rossi sets pole record for home Grand Prix

Valentino Rossi will start the Gran Premio Alice d'Italia from the front of
the MotoGP grid after a stunning final lap that saw him smash Sete Gibernau's
pole record and hold off a strong challenge from the Spaniard in this
afternoon's single qualifying session. Rossi's time of 1'49.223 on his 25th lap
of the Mugello circuit in searing summer heat kept Gibernau at bay by 0.138
seconds, with Max Biaggi also in close attendance and completing the front row
in third place.

"It was a great practice and a hard battle for this important pole position,"
commented Rossi afterwards. "At the beginning we started to work on the bike for
tomorrow and at the end I tried with a qualifying tyre. I saw I was in second
position and I knew I didn't have much time to stop but I came in two and a half
minutes from the end and the team did a great job to change the tyre in a short
time. There are a lot of riders near to me so we need to set the bike to the
maximum. Hopefully the weather will stay like this - for the riders and for the
fantastic crowd around the circuit."

In a thrilling finale to the session no fewer than twelve riders lapped within a
second of Rossi's best time, providing a tense battle for grid positions right
up to the chequered flag. American youngsters Nicky Hayden and John Hopkins both
produced grandstand final laps to gatecrash the second row in fourth and fifth
place respectively, relegating Loris Capirossi to sixth place just minutes after
the Italian had occupied provisional pole.

Marco Melandri ran out of time on his final lap after making a late tyre change
and dropped to the third row of the grid in seventh place, with Carlos Checa
taking eighth despite dominating the time sheets for much of the session.
Japanese pair Shinya Nakano and Makoto Tamada, making his first appearance in
almost two months after breaking his wrist, complete the top ten after both
launching front row attacks in the closing stages.

Kenny Roberts and Colin Edwards are the other two riders to have lapped within a
second of Rossi, qualifying eleventh and twelfth respectively, whilst Alex
Hofmann sealed an encouraging fourteenth place on his return to action from
injury. MotoGP debutante David Checa was also impressive, qualifying in
sixteenth place as he covers for the injured Yamaha rider Toni Elias.

There was also big MotoGP news off the track today, as the Grand Prix Commission
announced important rule changes to be implemented to the series in just over 18
months' time. From the 1st January 2007 the maximum engine size capacity for
MotoGP will be reduced to 800cc, whilst the use of two-stroke engines will be
officially banned in the premier class. The maximum fuel capacity will be
limited to 21 litres.

Jorge Lorenzo took his first pole position in the 250cc category with a last lap
effort that knocked Casey Stoner off top spot with just seconds remaining.
Provisional pole holder Stoner had dominated for much of the session but will
have to settle for a front row start in second place after a strong performance
from Lorenzo, who also headed the morning free practice and will now look to
take Honda's first win here since 1997. Local favourite and reigning 125cc World
Champion Andrea Dovizioso will also challenge for that honour from the front row
after qualifying third fastest ahead of Randy De Puniet on the Aprilia. De
Puniet's team-mate Sebastian Porto heads up the second row after escaping unhurt
from a crash, with factory colleague Alex de Angelis sixth fastest. Defending
World Champion Dani Pedrosa and Hector Barbera complete the second row in
seventh and eighth respectively.

Mika Kallio left it until the very last minute to improve on his provisional
pole effort from yesterday, escaping from a packed group on the final lap to
post a time of 1'58.662. Kallio's late charge proved enough to hold off the
challenge of his KTM team-mate Gabor Talmacsi, the only man to threaten the
series leader's position at the top of the time sheets. Hector Faubel, who
qualified over a second slower than Kallio, was third fastest and joins the
Austrian factory pair on the front row ahead of Mattia Pasini, who failed to
improve his provisional time and dropped from second to fourth. Thomas Luthi,
who lies second to Kallio in the championship standings, qualified sixth fastest
ahead of impressive wildcard Michele Conti.

INFO 2005/64. 4-06-2005