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Katoh keeps composed to ruin Aprilia 250 South African party

Katoh keeps composed to ruin Aprilia 250 South African party

Daijiro Katoh responded to Marco Melandri´s early form at the Gauloises Africa´s Grand Prix by storming to pole position in the second 250 qualifying practice.

The Honda star blasted the circuit´s best lap by over half a second, with a breathtaking time of 1´36.937. Even the heroic efforts of Aprilia pair Tetsuya Harada and Marco Melandri, who both broke previous lap records only to line up second and third on the grid, could not stand in the way of the seemingly superhuman pocket rocket. Katoh will nevertheless have his hands full on Sunday with a glut of the Italian factory riders battling it out with him at the top.

Aprilia had another extraordinary day with Roberto Locatelli joining his team-mates on the front row and Fonsi Nieto, Luca Boscoscuro and Franco Battaini taking fifth, sixth and seventh positions on the grid respectively. Sebastian Porto gatecrashed the party to take his Yamaha to the final second row position.

Further back there was even more good news for quarter-litre specialists Aprilia. Notable performances from Spanish pair Jeronimo Vidal and Alex Debon coupled by steady rides from Jeremy McWilliams, Roberto Rolfo, Randy De Puniet and Sylvain Guintoli mean they have ten riders in the top twelve positions and an astonishing twelve in the top fifteen.

Sunday promises to be another exciting day for the 250 class, although race fans will be hoping the Aprilia riders don´t get left behind by the irrepressible Katoh.

250cc, 2001, Gauloises Africa's Grand Prix, QP1

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