Sete Gibernau entered the last 4kms of a rain interrupted French Grand Prix right behind reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi, to signal the beginning of a knife-edge last lap battle which would go to the final turn...
Incessant rain yesterday meant there were no changes to the provisional grid, with Rossi's provisional pole lap - established in Friday's dry conditions - never coming into question.
With a steady afternoon drizzle maintaining a constant film of water on the track surface throughout the final qualifying session, riders were limited to finalising wet settings in case of similar conditions today.
Saturday would see Jeremy McWilliams
emerge on top, fastest in both free practice and final qualifying, having opted for the light and nimble Proton KR3 two-stroke after completing some laps on the team's brand new V5 four-stroke. Rossi was second fastest behind the British rider, and was satisfied at his machine's performance in both wet and dry conditions.
McWilliams' team-mate Nobuatsu Aoki also rode well in third place on the rain-friendly Bridgestone tyres. The Proton pair were hoping they can challenge the World Champion should there be similar conditions today, as they start from the third and fifth rows of the grid respectively.
Other than Rossi, the only front row starter to lap in the top ten yesterday was Alex Barros, while Italians Loris Capirossi
(3rd on grid) and Marco Melandri
(4th) both struggled to find a wet set-up.
One man to watch could be Carlos Checa, who was fifth fastest in the wet today and starts from the second row of the grid in sixth.
Former Australian dirt track riders Troy Bayliss and Garry McCoy
also looked comfortable on the slippery tarmac, as they slithered their way to the fourth and sixth fastest times of the day respectively. Bayliss would line his Ducati up in 14th place today, with McCoy starting from the back row of the grid on his Kawasaki.
Today dawned dry, but overcast, and although the 125 and 250cc races passed without intervention from the weather, the drama grew as the MotoGP grid formed when intermittent spots of rain began to fall on the start-finish straight.