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Rossi quickest as Biaggi and Jacque crash in first 500 free practice session

Rossi quickest as Biaggi and Jacque crash in first 500 free practice session

Valentino Rossi set the quickest lap time in a slippery first practice session for the 500 riders at Jerez. The Championship leader was 0.707 seconds quicker than nearest rival Alex Criville, who confirmed his pre-session claims of feeling at ease with the NSR Honda by setting consistently quick lap times throughout the session.

Not so comfortable was Rossi´s fellow Italian Max Biaggi, who lost the front end of his Yamaha and suffered a slow speed tumble. Biaggi immediately took his spare bike back onto the track and shrugged off any possible side effects by immediately setting his quickest lap up to that point, although he ended the session eleventh fastest overall.

Olivier Jacque also fell, sliding off his Yamaha and into the gravel before easing initial concerns about the arm he broke in pre-season testing in Malaysia by returning to the track on his spare bike. Barry Veneman was the only other faller and he too emerged unhurt, immediately jumping to his feet and heading back to the pits.

Alex Barros showed signs that he could be returning to form just at the right time with the third quickest lap of the session, whilst Carlos Checa posted consistent times to confirm that he is fully recovered from the injury which kept him out of the last race in South Africa.

Despite a bright start to the day clouds have started to form over the Spanish circuit and the intermittent showers experience yesterday look likely to hinder proceedings this afternoon. Nevertheless the rain has held off up to now and the riders and teams will be hoping conditions remain dry for this afternoon´s first qualifying session.

Tags:
500cc, 2001

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