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Fastest ever lap at Suzuka gives Loris Capirossi first 500 pole of the year

Fastest ever lap at Suzuka gives Loris Capirossi first 500 pole of the year

Loris Capirossi guided his West Honda Pons machine to pole position for the 500cc Grand Prix of Japan in a fascinating final qualifying session this afternoon at the Suzuka circuit. The diminutive Italian set an excellent lap of 2´04.777 - almost a full second under the previous best lap of the circuit set by Valentino Rossi in this morning´s practice session. Young Japanese 500 rookie Shinya Nakano had held top spot for much of the session and ended up in an impressive second place to delight the home supporters and his Gauloises Yamaha Tech 3 team.

Max Biaggi didn´t improve on his effort from yesterday until late in the session, but set the third best qualifying time on the Marlboro Yamaha four minutes from the end. He is joined on the front row by Red Bull Yamaha rider Garry McCoy.

Last year´s winner Norick Abe took the Antena 3 Yamaha-d´Antin machine to sixth spot - just behind countryman Tohru Ukawa, who was fifth fastest on the Repsol Honda. Nastro Azzurro rider Valentino Rossi had to settle for a place on the second row in seventh position, and is joined by West Honda Pons man Alex Barros in eighth. Current 500 World Champion Kenny Roberts will start the race from a disappointing ninth on his Telefonica Movistar Suzuki, whilst Red Bull Yamaha star Noriyuki Haga completes the top ten qualifiers despite suffering a huge spill halfway through the session.

500cc, 2001

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