Press Release
(2006 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
Gibernau eclipses Melandri to seal inaugural Istanbul pole

Sete Gibernau became the first rider to lap quicker than Marco Melandri at the
Istanbul Park circuit in this afternoon's single qualifying practice for the
Grand Prix of Turkey, snatching pole position from his young team-mate on the
final lap of an exciting afternoon session. Gibernau's time of 1'52.334 was
enough to secure top spot thanks largely to a mistake from Melandri, who ran
wide during his final pole assault after again dominating the time sheets
throughout the majority of the day. The Spaniard's fourth pole position of the
season also puts him within touching distance of the BMW Award for the MotoGP
Best Qualifier, with a 1.956 second advantage over Valentino Rossi and just one
qualifying session remaining at Valencia in two weeks' time.

"From the first moment we came here I've felt comfortable with the track and the
bike has been working well," reflected Gibernau. "It is very technical and has a
bit of everything; I'm enjoying myself. When you are having fun everything else
seems to come much easier and we're in good shape. This morning we ran almost a
full race distance and in the afternoon I was able to put in a good qualifying
lap so hopefully our progress can be confirmed in the warm-up tomorrow. I'm not
obsessed about winning but I am about having a good race!"

Nicky Hayden responded to Melandri's challenge by recording the third fastest
time of the afternoon session to complete an all-Honda front row. The American
is tied on points with the Italian in the battle for the second place in the
championship and, after lapping 1.268 seconds slower than his rival yesterday,
he was able to close the gap down to just over five tenths today.

Colin Edwards, who trails the pair by eight points in the championship, will
continue his quest for the runner-up spot from the second row of the grid in
tomorrow's race after a close battle with his Yamaha colleagues Valentino Rossi
and Toni Elias. Whilst Rossi will be launching his bid to equal Mick Doohan's
record of twelve wins in a single season from fourth place, Elias made the most
of a tow from Edwards on the final lap to line-up behind the American in sixth -
improving his previous best ever qualifying performance from last weekend at
Phillip Island by one place.

Makoto Tamada propelled himself several places up the grid with a final lap
effort that was good enough for the seventh fastest time. The Japanese rider
lines up ahead of Alex Barros and Carlos Checa on the third row, knocking his
compatriot Shinya Nakano back to the fourth row ahead of Chris Vermeulen, who
produced an impressive performance in only his second MotoGP appearance to
out-qualify the experienced Max Biaggi. Lone Suzuki rider John Hopkins qualified
fourteenth fastest despite suffering from a heavy cold, whilst it was announced
that his team-mate this season Kenny Roberts, who is out of the final two rounds
with a broken wrist injury, will not have his contract renewed by the factory
next year.

Alex de Angelis recovered from the disappointment of a race crash at Phillip
Island six days ago to record his third pole position in the 250cc class after
dislodging Casey Stoner just two laps from the end of the session. Stoner
bounced back from a crash in the closing stages to set his best time on his
second bike, with the Aprilia pair joined on the front row of the grid by Honda
team-mates Hiroshi Aoyama and Dani Pedrosa. Jorge Lorenzo, who has until the end
of the season to become the youngest ever winner of a quarter-litre race, starts
from the second row in seventh place.

Thomas Luthi made the ideal preparations for his first assault on the 125cc
World Championship title after clinching his fourth pole position of the season.
The Swiss youngster has gone on to win each of the races he has started from the
front of the grid this season and a similar result tomorrow, combined with fifth
place or lower for Mika Kallio, would secure the title. Kallio also starts from
the front row tomorrow after qualifying third fastest, behind Hector Faubel and
ahead of Mattia Pasini.

INFO 2005/166. 22-10-2005