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MotoGPPortugalApril 16, 2005
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 2
Portugal Grand Prix at Estoril Qualifying

Barros Sets Pole and Looks Strong for Race

Race Results >>

An hour of qualifying for tomorrow’s MotoGP race took place in sunny, but fresh conditions with Alex Barros (Camel Honda RC211V) snatching pole in the final three minutes with a lap of 1m 37.202 seconds to deprive Sete Gibernau (Team Movistar Honda RC211V) of top slot. Carlos Checa (Ducati) qualified third fastest. Just 1.081 seconds cover the top ten qualifiers.

Alex Barros(Camel Honda)

Sete Gibernau (Team Movistar Honda MotoGP)

Reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) starts from the second row as fourth fastest qualifier, 0.441 seconds off Barros’ time. Marco Melandri (Team Movistar Honda RC211V) lines up alongside him after setting the fifth fastest time on his number two machine after a late-session crash.

Wind, on the west coast of the Iberian peninsular, was a factor, but less of a problem than in Jerez last weekend. The fairly low 16-degree track temperature proved more troublesome for riders on race rubber where grip proved in much shorter supply than on qualifying tyres.

Max Biaggi (Repsol Honda RC211V) went second fastest behind his team-mate Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) early in the hour before failing to coax any more speed from his RC211V – the Roman eventually qualifying eighth with a best lap of 1m 38.009 seconds. Hayden crashed at the hairpin with 20 minutes to go while lying sixth. He eventually qualified ninth fastest.

It was Gibernau who first topped Barros’ Friday free training time with a 1m 38.363 second lap of the 4.182km track in the opening 15 minutes of the session. Max lay second fastest with Barros third and Hayden fourth – at the halfway stage four Honda RC211Vs filled the first four grid positions.

But perhaps of more lasting significance was Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta Honda RC211V) crashing at the midway stage. The Japanese rider sustained damage to his right wrist and finished the session way down in 20th on the grid – way down on row seven.

Troy Bayliss (Camel Honda RC211V), who crashed heavily yesterday, managed to put himself on row five as 13th fastest qualifier, but his best time of 1m 39.033 seconds is nearly two seconds shy of his team-mate Barros’ best – and no matter what Troy’s talents as a racer – his grid position is a substantial handicap.

Marco Melandri (Team Movistar Honda RC211V) was the hero of the hour. He showed remarkable determination in grabbing a second row start in fifth when it looked as if he would be relegated way down the starting order as other riders made use of their super-sticky qualifying rubber in the final ten minutes.

He went second fastest in the final three minutes with a 1m 37.900 second lap and then put in a 1m 37.835s lap on the next run. Then Gibernau displaced him before Barros put the session in perspective with his pole lap of 1m 37.202 seconds.

The two Hondas of Barros and Gibernau dominate the front row, but questions remain over the ability of Gibernau to last the race carrying the shoulder injury from contact with Rossi last weekend – and whether Bayliss and Tamada can cope tomorrow after their crashes. Melandri at least proved his fitness with those two late session laps.

“I’m happy,” said Barros. “All weekend we’ve had very good settings and so we could work hard on race pace. I was confused by tyre choice initially, but now it’s all clear for the race. The qualifying tyre worked really well and I was surprised at my lap time. This is good for Honda.”

Gibernau, who crashed without injury in the morning free training session said, “This morning didn’t help, but this is a tough weekend and we have to stay strong. I’m going to suffer in the race and I’m not sure I’ll be able to stay on the pace – my shoulder still needs treatment.”

Melandri continues to shine on a Honda in MotoGP and said, “The bike has improved a lot and we made a big step forward from yesterday. My crash was a schoolboy error – I picked the wrong gear and went flying!”

Max said, “That was better than yesterday. We’ve been working on the electronics and the improvement was due to the work we did. But the job is far from done yet and some parts of the track are still a problem. But we’ll continue working in warm-up tomorrow and see how we go.”

“That session was pretty lame really,” said Nicky. “I’m struggling to go fast consistently. Then when we got the bike going a bit better I crashed on my ‘in’ lap.”

Brave Troy Bayliss, determined to get used to his RC211V after two seasons on Ducati, said, “First of all well done Alex – that was a great lap he did. We’re finding it hard to get grip here, but I still did my best lap on race tyres which is more encouraging.”

Makoto Tamada will undergo a medical assessment of his right wrist tomorrow morning after intensive physiotherapy overnight to decide whether or not he rides. “I’m very disappointed with today,” he said. “I’m determined to ride tomorrow even though I’m last on the grid and the pain will not be easy.”

Randy de Puniet (Aprilia) secured pole position in the 250cc class with team-mate Sebastian Porto second fastest and Dani Pedrosa (Team Movistar Honda RS250RW) having to rely on his Friday time to stay third on the grid. Rapid rookie Andrea Dovizioso (Scot Racing Team Honda RS250RW) makes his first front row start in the class from fourth.

Honda’s rookies are showing their class after graduating from 125cc racing with not only Dovi in fourth but Hector Barbera (Fortuna Honda RS250RW fifth fastest, Hiroshi Aoyama (Team Movistar Honda RS250RW) seventh quickest and Jorge Lorenzo (Fortuna Honda RS250RW) also on row two in eighth.

Dani said, “I got caught in traffic on the last lap so couldn’t better my time, but I’m happy with things and ready for the race. I just hope it doesn’t rain like it has been in the mornings so far.”

“I’m very confident for the race,” said Dovi. “Everything’s going well after the hell of Jerez. The chassis is good and the engine is strong, so we’ll see what the race brings tomorrow. I like this track, so if conditions don’t change too much we should be in good shape.”

The final half-hour of 125cc qualifying belonged to Mika Kallio (KTM), who put his machine on pole for the first time in his career. But the Finn was shadowed all the way by lightning-quick Thomas Luthi (Elit Grand Prix Honda RS125R) who qualified second fastest. Marco Simoncelli and and Hector Faubel (both Aprilia) are third and fourth on the grid.

Kallio had been fastest yesterday and held onto his advantage early as other riders strove to topple him. But try as Luthi might, first with a 1m 46.215 second lap, and then with his eventual best of 1m 45.393 seconds, the young Swiss had to be content with second on the grid.

Fabrizio Lai (Kopron Racing World Honda RS125RW) starts from the second row. The Italian got caught in traffic when he was trying for a quick lap, but is happy with his set-up and feels he has a race pace that should keep him in contention tomorrow.

Alvaro Bautista (Seedorf Racing Honda RS125RW) starts from 11th on row three after shaving two seconds off his Friday time. After two seasons riding an Aprilia, he is getting comfortable on an RS125RW, and said, “The two sessions today were the best so far on the Honda for me, the front-end is really good and that gave me a lot of confidence.”

Luthi said, “The bike is very good, both engine and chassis-wise. Yesterday I didn’t get a fast time because of the traffic so today I went alone to get a good time and I’m happy with what I achieved.”

Max Biaggi (Repsol Honda Team)

Makoto Tamada (KONICA MINOLTA Honda Team)

Alex Barros, Camel Honda: 1st:
"I’m really happy, that’s easy to see, we’ve been going well all weekend. Straight away we showed that we have a good base set-up in the bike, whilst regarding the tyres, Michelin has helped enormously in getting over the issues caused by the cold track surface, colder than during last year’s race. In the first forty minutes of the official session I worked for the race mostly, trying to get the right rhythm for it, and just towards the end we stuck in a soft tyre which allowed me to take this pole. I’m truly pleased for myself and the whole team and I hope to have a good race tomorrow."

Sete Gibernau, Team Movistar Honda MotoGP: 2nd:
"It was already going to be a tough Grand Prix for us but the crash this morning has only made things worse. My shoulder was damaged some more and we've had to work around it a little. We've got a good pace and I was able to do a fast lap thanks to the painkillers but it's pretty clear I won't be able to ride like that through the whole race. I don't want to rule anything out though - the treatment I get tonight will be very important but we have to be ready to suffer and be calm enough to realise that if I am limited by my physical capabilities then it will be important to just gather as many points as possible because it's a long season.."

Marco Melandri, Team Movistar Honda MotoGP: 5th:
"The bike has improved a lot and we've taken a big step forward from yesterday. My crash was a schoolboy error - I picked the wrong gear and went flying. The second bike was a bit different, the rear spring was too hard and it was tiring to ride. We still have to make some improvements to the front end but I'm looking forward to the race; fifth place is a good result"

Max Biaggi. Repsol Honda Team: 8th:
" Much better than yesterday for sure. We’ve been working on the electronics and our step forward comes from there. Obviously, our job isn’t done yet. Particularly in some points of the track it is still too difficult to keep the lines. The qualifying lap could be much better but now we are thinking about improving the race set up for tomorrow. There’s not much time left but at least we know what to do."

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda Team: 9th:
"The session was pretty lame really. I felt alright at the beginning but I was struggling to go fast consistently in the mid part of the session. We got the bike going a bit better then I crashed on my ‘in-lap’. Really strange. I checked the time and I was well off the pace. I just tipped the bike in and I was down. We had to switch bikes to my spare that was not set up the same. It’s never easy to get on a different bike with qualifying tyres on but we had no choice. Initially I thought the time was okay but when you’re a bit off here it’s row three! We’ll see tomorrow."

Troy Bayliss, Camel Honda: 13th:
"First of all “well done!” to Alex, he did an extraordinary lap. We found it hard to get good grip, but I’m happy that I did my best lap with race tyres. Tomorrow in the warm up we will try a couple of small modifications, but the most important thing will be to get a good start so we can make the most of the good pace we showed today with the harder tyres. ."

Makoto Tamada, KONICA MINOLTA Honda Team: 20th:
"I’m very disappointed for what happened today. I was only at the beginning of the qualifying session and I still needed to find the right balance of the bike. The doctors are trustful that I can race tomorrow, but we’ll take the definitive decision only when I’ll wake up in the early hours of the morning. My hope is that I will make it to ride my bike tomorrow, even if I know that starting from the last position and with pain in my wrist will not be easy, but I will try to give my best."


Dani Pedrosa, Team Telefonica Movistar Honda 250cc: 3rd:
"I tried to improve my time at the end of the session but I ran into traffic on the track and I couldn't complete my fast lap. But it's important to be on the front row and I'm satisfied with both the rhythm and the set-up of the bike if it's a dry race, although we haven't selected the tyres yet. I think it will be a long race with a group of riders at the front, but as with Jerez I'd like my luck here to change and at least make the podium."

Andrea Dovizioso, Team Scot: 4th:
" I’m happy not only with my front row position but also for the good setting of my bike, which I like very much. I could have got a better time following in the slipstream of another fast rider but I prefer to ride alone and not loose my concentration. I am ready to race but it will depend on the weather conditions and on the grip. We haven’t decided the tyres for the race yet, the warm up will be fundamental for tat decision."

Hector Barbera, Team Fortuna Honda: 5th:
"The gap between me and the leaders is less this time and this has given me great motivation. If I start on the front row or second it doesn’t matter because I have a clear vision of my goal – I will take the maximum out of this race."

Hiroshi Aoyama, Team Telefonica Movistar Honda 250cc: 7th:
"I've improved my lap time from yesterday quite a lot and that has allowed me to move up one row on the grid, although I am not completely happy with the session. I was only able to get one really good lap in and I need to be more consistent than that now that my feeling with the bike has improved. I'll have to stay concentrated and get a good start to chase the lead group."

Jorge Lorenzo, Team Fortuna Honda: 8th:
" I was better today than at Jerez. I need to study the best lines to take with this machine if I am to improve my performances."

Yuki Takahashi,Team Scot: 11th:
"I found the right rhythm and I’ve memorised the track. During this session I have my performance but the setting was better this morning. Tomorrow we will use the solution adopted during free practice. If it rains on this track anything could happen. I will be careful."

Jakub Smrz, Molenaar Honda: 14th:
" I didn’t start the session very well and crashed on the fourth lap. I got a bit of a bang on the head but I’m OK. The team worked hard to repair the bike and I got in 15 laps at the end of the session and set my fast time on my very last lap. I managed to beat my time of yesterday by 0.5s. The time is 1.4s faster than last year so I have to be happy, despite the crash."

Alex Debon, Wurth Honda BQR: 16th:
" crashed in the morning when I lost the front end, one corner before the place I crashed yesterday. I’m ÓK, the bike was damaged but the team has fixed everything. The engine is very strong this year and we have a pretty good set up. The race is tomorrow and I hope to again be in the top 10."

Radomil Rous, Wurth Honda BQR:: 19th:
" crashed in the morning when I lost the front end, one corner before the place I crashed yesterday. I’m ÓK, the bike was damaged but the team has fixed everything. The engine is very strong this year and we have a pretty good set up. The race is tomorrow and I hope to again be in the top 10."


Thomas Luthi, Elit Honda: 2nd:
"The bike is very good, engine and chassis settings, I feel very comfortable on the bike. Yesterday I didn’t get a fast time because of traffic so today I went out first and set a fast time alone. That done I came in and changed tyres and went out and improved again so I have to be happy."

Fabrizio Lai, Kopron racing World Honda: 8th:
"I had a lot of problems getting passed slower riders so didn’t get the best time possible. I am happy with my bike and hope to get a good start, and no rain in the race!"

Alvaro Bautista, Seedorf RC3 Tiempo Holidays Honda: 11th:
"The two sessions today were the best I have ridden on the Honda. We found a really good front end setting for the bike and that has given me a lot of confidence. Now we have found the right direction to go with the basic set up I feel very comfortable. The engine is strong so I think I will have a good race tomorrow."

Mike Di Meglio, Kopron racing World : 12th:
"I am satisfied. I am two seconds faster than yesterday. The changes we made to the set up, especially the rear end have really improved the bike. I met a lot of traffic and could not improve my time. I hope for a good start tomorrow and am able to stay with the lead group."

Toshihisa Kuzuhara, Angaia Racing Honda: 15th:
"The bike settings get better and better each time I ride the bike, I have learned a lot about this circuit. On my time attack lap I was caught in a traffic jam caused by a rider crashing. I still have some pain in my legs while walking but it is no problem while riding the bike."

Tomoyoshi Koyama, Ajo Motorsport: 16th:
"We had a small carburetor problem this morning but we fixed that. The engine is very fast and the set up is getting better. My only problem is that I don’t have enough laps at Estoril. If I get a good start I will have a good race."

Alex Espargaro, Seedorf RC3 Tiempo Holidays Honda: 17th:
"I am very happy with my performance so far, this is my first time at Estoril. The bike is very good, engine works well and now we have improved the feeling with the front end I am confident. I was one second faster today than yesterday and I am confident that I will be even faster tomorrow."

Sandro Cortese, Kiefer Bos Castrol Honda: 19th:
"I am very happy my bike is very good. This is my first GP at Estoril and I like the track and have learned a lot in practice. I was more than one second faster today than yesterday and I set my time riding alone. The race will be very hard but I am really looking forward to racing tomorrow."

Alexis Masbou, Ajo Motorsport: 20th:
"The engine is really good once we had sorted out the carburattion. This is my first GP here so when I started to go faster I needed to make suspension adjustments because it was difficult to change direction and I also had a little rear wheel chatter. Everything is much better now, I am very happy and looking forward to the race."

Angel Rodriguez, LG Mobil Galicia Honda: 34th:
"Not so good today! The problem is that we didn’t get enough testing before the season started. I am still adjusting to the new bike and have not found the ideal set up."

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 2
Portugal Grand Prix at Estoril Qualifying

1 Alex BARROS (Camel Honda)
2 Sete Gibernau (Team Movistar Honda MotoGP)
3 Carlos CHECA(Ducati Marlboro Team)
4 Valentino ROSSI (Gauloises Yamaha Team)
5 Marco MELANDRI (Team Movistar Honda MotoGP)
6 Loris CAPIROSSI (Ducati Marlboro Team)
7 Colin EDWARDS (Gauloises Yamaha Team)
8 Max BIAGGI (Repsol Honda Team)
9 Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)
10 Shinya NAKANO (Kawasaki Racing Team)
11 John HOPKINS (Team Suzuki MotoGP)
12 Ruben XAUS (Fortuna Yamaha Team)
13 Troy BAYLISS (Camel Honda)
14 Kenny ROBERTS (Team Suzuki MotoGP)
15 Toni ELIAS (Fortuna Yamaha Team)
16 Roberto ROLFO (D’Antin MotoGP - Pramac)
17 James ELLISON (Blata WCM)
18 Shane BYRNE (Team Roberts)
19 Franco BATTAINI (Blata WCM)
1 Randy DE PUNIET (Aprilia Aspar 250cc)
2 Sebastian PORTO (Aprilia Aspar 250cc)
3 Daniel PEDROSA (Telefonica Movistar Honda 250cc)
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Team Scot)
5 Hector BARBERA (Fortuna Honda)
6 Alex DE ANGELIS (MS Aprilia Italia Corse)
7 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Telefonica Movistar Honda 250cc)
8 Jorge LORENZO (Fortuna Honda)
9 Roberto LOCATELLI (Carrera Sunglasses - LCR)
10 Simone CORSI (MS Aprilia Italia Corse)
11 Yuki TAKAHASHI (Team Scot)
1 Mika KALLIO (Red Bull KTM GP125)
2 Thomas LUTHI (Elit Grand Prix)
3 Marco SIMONCELLI ( Race)
4 Hector FAUBEL (Master Aspar)
5 Lukas PESEK (Metis Racing Team)
6 Gabor TALMACSI (Red Bull KTM GP125)
7 Mattia PASINI (Totti Top Sport - NGS)
8 Fabrizio LAI (Kopron Racing World)
9 Julian SIMON (Red Bull KTM GP125)
10 Manuel POGGIALI (Metis Racing Team)

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