Huang leads Chinese charge

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 April, 2006, 12:00am

Six Chinese riders have earned themselves the chance to test their mettle against the world's best riders on home asphalt after going through a two-session trial yesterday for wild card entries to the upcoming MotoGP Chinese Grand Prix.

Huang Shizhao, of the Yamaha Tianjian China, claimed the best times in both one-lap sessions.

On his Yamaha 250cc bike, the 33-year-old Guangzhou rider first sped around the 5.4km Shanghai International Circuit in 2:14.620 and later bettered the time by more than two seconds to 2:12.529.

Fellow Yamaha rider Xiao Jin, two Bennelli-equipped speedsters, Li Zhengpeng and Wang Zhualong, with He Zhifeng, representing home manufacturer Zongshen, shared the remaining four 250cc wild cards given to China by the Federation of International Motorcycling.

Hong Kong's Chow Howan was granted an automatic place in the 125cc competition as no one competed against him for the only wild card. The Chinese Grand Prix, consisting of competitions in MotoGP class, 250cc and 125cc, will be held on May 12-14 at the circuit.

In Istanbul yesterday, Valentino Rossi's hopes of marking his 100th start in motorcycling's top category with a win took a knock after the MotoGP world champion qualified 11th for the Turkish Grand Prix.

Suzuki's Australian rookie Chris Vermeulen shrugged off the rain to take his first MotoGP pole. The 23-year-old lapped the Istanbul Park circuit in two minutes and 4.617 seconds. American Nicky Hayden was second for Honda, 0.206 seconds slower, with Spain's Sete Gibernau completing the front row on a Ducati.