A day to remember as Valentino Rossi smashes lap record to claim pole position at Italian MotoGP

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Home sweet home for Valentino Rossi

Veteran rider Valentino Rossi claimed his first pole since October 2016 when he set a new track record at the Italian MotoGP on Saturday.

The Yamahan rider clocked 1min 46.208 seconds on the Mugello track to edge Jorge Lorenzo and his Spanish compatriot Maverick Vinales, who completed the front row for Sunday’s race.

It was the first pole position for the 39-year-old former seven-time world MotoGP champion since the Japanese Grand Prix more than a year and half ago.

“I’m very happy, it’s a surprise,” said Rossi.

“In the last free practice session we tried harder tyres but I was in trouble, with the medium tyres it was better, the bike was good and when I saw the time of 1’46.2 I thought ‘It could be …’ It was very emotional.

“Tomorrow will be a bit harder, but for now I enjoy the moment.”

The Italian veteran also shaved 0.231 off the new lap record which had been achieved earlier in the day by Spanish world champion Marc Marquez of Honda.

Championship leader Marquez will start from sixth on the grid with Italy’s Andrea Iannone (Suzuki) and Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) in fourth and fifth position.

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UAE racer Amna Al Qubaisi all set for Monza F4 challenge

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Amna Al Qubaisi is ready for Monza.

UAE champion and Prema PowerTeam driver Amna Al Qubaisi is looking forward to Round 3 of the F4 Italian Championship which will be held at Monza from June 1-3.

Having made her F4 debut at Adria in April, where she was on the podium, Amna is hoping to do well once again racing against some of the best in the Rookie class at the famous Monza circuit.

Amna said: “At the outset, I have to say I felt very proud when I heard the UAE national anthem played at Adria when I was on the podium in April. This encourages me to do well again.

“The focus will be to continue learning, gaining experience and like all the other drivers to win, if not to at least be on the podium.”

The Formula 4 season got under way at the Adria International Raceway on April 22 and will conclude at the Mugello Circuit on October 28.

The championship comprises of a total of seven race weekends, with other venues including Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari Imola and Autodromo Vallelunga Piero Taruffi.

Abu Dhabi Racing is an Abu Dhabi-based company in the UAE working on a number of initiatives designed to bolster the Emirates’ presence in global Motorsport.

The highlight of 2017 was victory for Abu Dhabi Racing Chairman Sheikh Khalid Bin Faisal Al Qassimi at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, a round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies.

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Dubai racer Ed Jones vows to come back 'stronger' after Indianapolis 500 disappointment

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Ed Jones in action at Indianapolis.

There was to be no fairy-tale repeat for Dubai’s Ed Jones in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 as the standout rookie from the 2017 edition of ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ crashed out of contention at just past one-quarter distance – but he is already vowing to come back “stronger”.

Jones, 23, stole the headlines with a tremendous top-three finish on his debut in the legendary 500-mile showdown this time last year. But following a tricky build-up, he lined up only 29th for Sunday’s second start in the fiercely-contested race after an uncharacteristic error spoiled his four-lap average in qualifying.

The main event itself got under way in sweltering conditions – the hottest Indy 500 in more than eight decades. The 2016 Indy Lights title-holder and 2017 IndyCar ‘Rookie of the Year’ managed to make it until lap 58, when his 720bhp Dallara-Honda single-seater got loose in the dirty air of the cars ahead going through turn two and slammed into the wall.

“It was a frustrating end to our race in the NTT Data car,” reflected former European F3 Open Champion Jones. “We struggled a bit in the first stint, but then made progress and we were looking better after the pit-stop.

“Unfortunately, there were two cars in front of me going two-wide, and the characteristics of the car were understeer – then I got massive oversteer and wasn’t able to catch it. That was obviously hugely disappointing, but my crew was outstanding and we’ll be back and stronger in Detroit.”

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