HAYDEN TAKES SECOND POLE POSITION OF SEASON, BIAGGI CHARGES TO SECOND ROW START
Nicky Hayden celebrated his 24th birthday today by securing the second pole position of his MotoGP career with team-mate Max Biaggi powering onto the second row in the last two minutes of the qualifying session in preparation for tomorrow's 30-lap German Grand Prix.
Hayden set his fastest Free Practice time of the weekend in the session this morning. Conditions were much fresher after welcome thunderstorms last night that helped drop the humidity considerably. This afternoon in the qualifying he immediately reeled off a succession of sub 1m 24s laps sdeclaring his intentions of fighting for a front row start. He timed his fast run to perfection and had an agonising wait for three minutes at the end of the hour to see if anyone could better his time. No one could, and he'll start his 40th GP tomorrow from pole position - adding to pole position at Laguna Seca three weeks ago.
On the other side of the garage, Biaggi's team worked feverishly last night in the hope of coming up with a set-up that would help last year's race winner feel more at home on a track he has proven to be so fast at in the past. The 34-year-old didn't find that the changes had significantly improved things and finished the morning session 0.8s down on Loris Capirossi who topped the time sheets.
In the afternoon he, like his team-mate, started the session well and immediately set his fastest time of the weekend. His final fast lap on Michelin qualifiers elevated him from ninth fastest and the third row up to sixth fastest and second row.
Hayden is joined by Sete Gibernau in second position and Alex Barros in third making it the first all-Honda front row of the season.
"I have to be happy in a way to get on the second row of the grid - even that hasn't happened much this season and I guess that tells it's own story. The bike feels worse here than last year and I'm not comfortable.The team have worked very hard this weekend and we have made some progress but not enough. Basically the problem we have had all season is still there and at the moment we seem to have no cure. We will have a hard race tomorrow as many riders have a fast pace. We will see!"
"That's not a bad way to celebrate your birthday but tomorrow's when it all counts. If we can put it all together in the race we'll really earn some cake! It feels really good to get pole here. Laguna was cool as it was my first pole and of course it was at home but I'm sure there were people around who said that I only got pole because I knew the place so well. It's good to come here and go fastest against a whole bunch of guys who know this place a whole lot better than I do. The bike feels pretty good for the race. My boys have done a real good job. I'm definitely going to try and stay up front all day. We'll just go for it and see what happens."
Makoto Tanaka - Team Manager-
"A good day really for the team and both riders. Once you make a pole position the next challenge is to get another one and today Nicky has succeeded. He and his team have done good work and I think they have a strong race package. I hope Nicky can get a start like Laugna and stay out of trouble! Max has had difficulties all weekend and although they're not solved he has been working hard with his team. He made a good run at the end of the session and just made the second row which is encouraging. There is still much to do in the warm-up session tomorrow and we will look forward to a good race in the afternoon."
Source: Repsol Honda Team Press Office