Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
Rossi to start 75th Gauloises TT Assen from pole

Valentino Rossi will start from pole position for the fourth time this season as
he searches for his six win from seven rounds in tomorrow's 75th anniversary
Gauloises TT Assen. The MotoGP World Champion, who leads current the series by
58 points over Marco Melandri, was in stunning form at the end of an incident
packed qualifying practice held in scorching temperatures touching 36°C.

Sete Gibernau, Marco Melandri, Colin Edwards, Nicky Hayden and Loris Capirossi
all posted fast laps with around six minutes remaining before a moment of
bizarre calm before the final storm as several riders, including Rossi, coasted
around waiting for clear track before launching their final pole attacks. Rossi
timed his run to perfection, clocking a lap of 1'58.936 to scupper an effort
from Gibernau, the only rival who managed to seriously threaten the Italian's

"I was lucky because I was able to use my qualifying tyres to 100%," reflected
Rossi after the session. "With the first one I set a 1'59.4, which was a great
lap, but I looked at it and thought maybe I could go a little faster. I had to
wait a while because there were a lot of riders waiting for me on the last lap
but I left it until the last moment and set another very good lap in 1'58. I'm
happy to be on pole position because tomorrow for sure will be a hard race.
We'll wait to see what the weather does but if the temperatures are like today
it will be very tough for the riders and the tyres."

The heat continued to rise after the practice had finished, with Melandri coming
together with Honda colleague Max Biaggi in an ugly clash on the final lap, when
he accused his fellow Italian of deliberately blocking his passage. Despite
being unable to improve his fastest lap up to that point, Melandri's previous
best was enough for the final slot on the front row alongside Rossi and Gibernau.

Shinya Nakano's surprise surge to the top of the time sheets after just seven
laps of the session was followed by another quick time on the final lap which
was enough for his best grid position on the Kawasaki in fourth place. The
Japanese rider relegated Hayden to fifth after the American's pole effort faded
in the final two sections, with Edwards completing the second row in sixth place.

Loris Capirossi was unable to defend his place at the top of the time sheets
after setting the pace in yesterday's free practice, eventually dropping to
seventh place. The Italian is joined on the third row of the grid by Alex Barros
and Max Biaggi, who also collided with Franco Battaini earlier in the session
after running straight at one of the recently modified corners. Whilst Biaggi
managed to stay on board his Honda, Battaini crashed spectacularly from his WCM
although he escaped uninjured.

In the 250cc class Jorge Lorenzo produced a determined performance to take his
second quarter-litre pole position just twelve days after breaking his
collarbone in two places at Catalunya. The Honda teenager clocked a lap of
2'04.562 to hold off the challenge of last year's winner Sebastian Porto despite
riding with a titanium plate and six screws in the cracked bone. Dani Pedrosa
produced a strong last lap to force Casey Stoner to the outside of the front row
in fourth place as he prepares to defend a 27-point lead over the Australian in
the championship.

Mika Kallio took pole position just 0.060 seconds ahead of his KTM team-mate
Gabor Talmacsi after giving the Hungarian a handy tow on the very last lap of
125cc qualifying. Series leader Mattia Pasini also launched a pole attack on the
final lap but fell 0.445 seconds short of Kallio's benchmark of 2'11.855 and
will start from third on the grid, with Marco Simoncelli completing the front row.

INFO 2005/86. 24-06-2005