Let’s call this ‘The Year of the Rookie’ in MotoGP – with three races in the books so far, and the fourth just about to kick off in Shanghai, China, the last three races (including today’s qualifying in China) have seen the pole position go to a rookie, and a rookie has been on the podium at two out of the three races.
Honda phenom Dani Pedrosa kept the streak alive today, taking pole position in the latter portion of a rain-interrupted qualifying session. With defending champ Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) starting all the way back in 13th, the first few rows of the grid are definitely not the usual suspects, or at least not entirely so – John Hopkins is qualified second on the Suzuki, third is Rossi’s Yamaha teammate, American racer Colin Edwards, and fourth is Shinya Nakano on the Kawasaki. Meanwhile, Gibernau is sixth, Melandri eighth, and Capirossi tenth!
The unusual qualifying positions could be setting the stage for an edge-of-your-seat spectacle tomorrow, as some of the premier championship contenders try to fight their way to the front, past a group of equally talented, but sometimes less successful racers, none of whom will willingly give up a position to anyone! Check back with us early tomorrow morning for the results.