Sun, Sep 24, 2006 - Page 23 News List

Capirossi tops Motegi qualifiers

ITALIAN DOMINANCE The Ducati rider topped his fellow countrymen Valentino Rossi and Marco Melandri to take the pole position for today's race

AP , MOTEGI, JAPAN

Ducati MotoGP rider Loris Capirossi of Italy steers to capture pole position during a qualifying run for the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi, north of Tokyo, yesterday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Defending Motegi champion Loris Capirossi clocked the fastest time in qualifying yesterday to take pole position for today's Grand Prix of Japan.

Capirossi, riding a Ducati, clocked a time of 1.45.724 at the 4.8km Motegi circuit. Reigning world champion Valentino Rossi posted a time of 1:45.991 on a Yamaha and Honda rider Marco Melandri, who won last week's Australian Grand Prix, was third fastest with 1:46.250 to complete an all-Italian front row.

"This lap time is fantastic," said Capirossi, who won at Motegi last year. "The bike is good and I'm quite optimistic about tomorrow's race."

Championship leader American Nicky Hayden, who holds a 21-point gap over Rossi in the MotoGP standings, finished seventh with a time of 1:46.489.

Rossi waited until the last lap of qualifying to make his move.

"I'm very happy to be on the front row," said Rossi. "We've always had some problems here at Motegi but this time the bike is in good shape. The last lap was very good today and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's race."

Rossi has won the MotoGP championship for the last five years and would overtake Hayden in the standings if he wins today.

Japan's Shinya Nakano will be on the second row after his time of 1:46.291. He'll be joined by Spaniards Sete Gibernau and Toni Elias.

In the 250cc category, Spain's Jorge Lorenzo, riding an Aprilia, took pole position with a time of 1:51.374, 0.581 seconds ahead of Italian Andrea Dovizioso.

Alex De Angelis of San Marino came in with the third-fastest time of 1:52.014.

Lorenzo is coming off a run of four victories in five races.

In the 125cc class, newly crowned world champion Alvaro Bautista of Spain took his sixth pole of the year with a time of 1:57.231 on an Aprilia. Mika Kallio of Finland was second in 1:57.510 on a KTM followed by Spain's Hector Faubel with 1:58.128 on an Aprilia.

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