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Marco Melandri leads Aprilia assault on Daijiro Katoh

Marco Melandri leads Aprilia assault on Daijiro Katoh

Aprilia´s cluster of 250 riders once again showed that they are ready to take over the mantle from Daijiro Katoh should the Japanese rider slip up here at the French circuit of Le Mans. Katoh holds a 19 point lead at the top of the rider standings going into the Grand Prix Polini de France, but he was given a warning of the talent behind him as Marco Melandri set the quickest time of the first free practice session and Jeremy McWilliams, Roberto Locatelli and Randy de Puniet also set consistently fast times throughout the session.

De Puniet is racing at his home circuit, and his superior knowledge of the twists and turns of the famous track showed through in the early part of the session when he repeatedly set the fastest lap. However, the class of Italian pair Melandri and Locatelli soon showed through and they shot to the top of the time sheets. Katoh did put in a late quick lap to finish the session third fastest, but the field looks wide open after the initial showing.

Katja Poensgen fell, as did wildcard pair Herve Mora and Guillaume Dietrich.

250cc, 2001, Grand Prix Polini de France, FP1

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