American Nicky Hayden celebrated his 24th birthday in style by grabbing pole position for the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring this afternoon - but he is waiting for the outcome of the race tomorrow before he starts cutting the cake.

In a tremendous one-hour session round the tight 2.284 miles circuit, the Repsol Honda rider took over pole with just three-minutes remaining of a session in which the first 14 riders were separated by less than one-second.

At the finish Hayden took his second pole in three weeks with the fellow RCVs of Sete Gibernau and Alex Barros completing the front row of the grid.

Gibernau, riding the Telefonica Movistar Honda, looked a likely pole setter until he experienced front-end problems when he put on qualifying tyres while Barros, after taking over second place on the Camel Honda, crashed for the third time in two days.

But Hayden, who'd led the way on Friday morning, had no such problems and is confident of battling for his second MotoGP victory in front of a sell-out crowd in Sunday's 30 lap race.

"It's a great way to celebrate my birthday, but tomorrow's the big one - I won't be cutting any cake until after the race," confirmed Nicky, who won his first grand prix just three weeks ago at Laguna Seca but crashed one week ago at Donington Park.

"Laguna Seca was cool because it was my first pole, but a lot of people said it was only because it was my home track. Here the other guys know the track much better than me so nobody can say that I didn't deserve it.

"The bike feels pretty good - my boys have done a real good job. In the race I'll just try to stay up front for as long as possible and go for it; we'll see what happens," Hayden concluded.

"Once you make a pole position the next challenge is to get another and today Nicky has succeeded," declared team manager Makoto Tanaka. "He and his team have done good work and I think they have a strong race package. I hope Nicky can get a start like Laugna and stay out of trouble!"



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