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Norick Abe demonstrates credentials at Le Mans

Norick Abe demonstrates credentials at Le Mans

As the MotoGP world sits and wonders who will be the man to take up the challenge of contesting the 500 crown with Valentino Rossi, Norick Abe showed in the first practice session of the Grand Prix Polini de France that he may be the man to do it - for this weekend at least. Abe led for almost the entire race here last year, before a final lap mistake let in Alex Criville who needed no second invitation to take his only win of the season.

The Japanese rider was consistent throughout this morning´s session, setting the fastest lap at the chequered flag, as Rossi spluttered and started heading for the gravel on two occasions, before putting in the second fastest lap late on. Rossi has set a standard in the first three races of the year of dominating all the practice and qualifying sessions, but on this occasion it seemed he was trying too hard for fast laps than looking to find consistency and the right setting for his bike.

Kenny Roberts also paid a visit to the gravel trap, as did British youngster Leon Haslam, but both riders immediately returned to the track and the current World Champion was able to clock some impressive times on the greasy surface.

Last year´s winner Criville was also consistent and will take heart from the fourth quickest lap of the session as he continues his return to form after a stunning third place in Jerez a fortnight ago.

Tags:
500cc, 2001

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