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Aprilia riders on form in 250 first free practice session

Aprilia riders on form in 250 first free practice session

Aprilia´s wealth of championship pretenders stole the headlines from Suzuka winner and title favourite Daijiro Katoh in this morning´s 250cc first free practice session. Marco Melandri set the fastest lap of the session with a time of 1´´39.131 and recorded a top speed of 234.3km/h. The young Italian finished in a brave sixth position at Suzuka despite dislocating his shoulder in a practice crash, he will be expecting to challenge for the win here at Welkom. Melandri´s effort sends out a warning shot to Katoh ahead of this afternoon´s qualifying practice, whilst Tetsuya Harada - who finished 2nd in the first round in Japan - also demonstrated that he is bang on form with the second quickest lap right at the end of the session.

Despite the usual relaxed approach to the first practice, Aprilia´s other top rider Franco Battaini also looked to deal a psychological blow to the seemingly invincible Katoh, who rode his Honda to the third fastest lap. Battaini was fourth quickest ahead of an impressive display from Naoki Matsudo, who proved that the Petronas Sprinta Yamaha will be a competitive machine this season with the fifth fastest lap overall.

250cc, 2001

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