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´The Doctor´ Rossi number one again in 500 practice

´The Doctor´ Rossi number one again in 500 practice

Valentino Rossi set the quickest time in this morning´s second 500 free practice of the Gauloises Africa´s Grand Prix, but only just. Loris Capirossi, who beat Rossi to provisional pole yesterday, was within 0.001 seconds of his Italian compatriot and looked extremely smooth around the 4242 m circuit.

The Honda pair were the only riders to break the 1´36 mark and already look like the men to beat for this weekend´s big event. Likely race rival Garry McCoy slipped and skidded his way to the fifth fastest time of the session after a couple of hazardous moments, including one incident where he almost highsided his Yamaha.

Ahead of McCoy was Japanese pair Tohru Ukawa, third fastest on the Honda, and Norick Abe, who was fourth quickest riding the Yamaha. Suzuki duo Kenny Roberts and Sete Gibernau are starting to show signs of progress and they were seventh and eighth overall behind Yamaha´s 500 rookie Shinya Nakano. Nakano is looking more and more comfortable with the powerful YZR and he is sure to be a force on Sunday.

The Phakisa Freeway circuit looked particularly slippery during the 500 session and many of the riders had traction problems. One such competitor was Briton Chris Walker who crashed his Honda after losing grip on a fast corner. Walker emerged unhurt from his brush with the gravel trap although unfortunately the same could not be said for Mark Willis, who tumbled spectacularly from his Pulse GP bike. The Australian rider suffered a contusion of the lumbar vertebrae and has been taken to hospital for tests.

500cc, 2001

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