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Melandri continues battle with Katoh in 250 free practice

Melandri continues battle with Katoh in 250 free practice

Marco Melandri sent out another stern warning to championship favourite Daijiro Katoh in this morning´s 250 second practice session, as the talented young pair set almost identical lap times. The class is already starting to form a pattern with Melandri, still in pain from a dislocated shoulder sustained in Japan, sending out clear messages over his intentions for this, the second race of the championship. Katoh remains many people´s favourite for tomorrow´s race however, after setting a practice time only bettered by his Italian rival by 0.001 seconds on the very last lap of the session. The Aprilia rider tops the time sheets once again after taking provisional pole in yesterday´s first qualifying session.

Melandri´s fellow Aprilia competitors Roberto Locatelli and Tetsuya Harada also look set to enjoy a season long duel after setting the third and fourth quickest laps of the practice session respectively. Locatelli was just 0.005 seconds outside Melandri´s provisional pole time and is seeking revenge on his Japanese contemporary after missing out on second place in the first race at Suzuka. Naoki Matsudo and Sebastian Porto, both riding for Yamaha, continued their good form under the sunny South African skies and set the fifth and sixth quickest times respectively.

Big names out of the top group include Emilio Alzamora and Jeremy McWilliams, whilst Franco Battaini also struggled to maintain consistent lap times.

250cc, 2001, Gauloises Africa's Grand Prix, FP1

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