Mon, Jul 24, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Vermeulen claims Moto GP pole at Laguna Seca

AP , MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA

Chris Vermeulen capitalized on the experience of his pair of World Superbike victories at Laguna Seca in 2004 to capture the pole position Saturday for the US Grand Prix, beating out his closest rival by more than a tenth of a second.

With temperatures over 38?C and a track temperature more than 58?C as qualifying began, the Australian selected the correct tires and had a best lap of 1 minute, 23.168 seconds on the 3.610km Laguna Seca circuit.

It was his second pole of the year, the other coming in the pouring rain in Turkey in April.

"I've been looking forward to getting on the pole in the dry all year," Vermeulen said. "The team worked really hard today and all credit to them. The heat made things really slippery out there. The track started to break up in places, actually."

The track was repaved last month, part of a US$7 million safety upgrade since last year's race.

"But the track is much safer. The walls are moved well back and that's good," the 24-year-old said.

Colin Edwards, twice a Superbike world champion, will start next to Vermeulen with a time of 1:23.321 and Kenny Roberts completes the first row.

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