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Max Biaggi on pole as McCoy withdraws from Grand Prix Polini de France

Max Biaggi on pole as McCoy withdraws from Grand Prix Polini de France

Max Biaggi took advantage of the misfortune of Garry McCoy in this afternoon´s final qualifying session for the Grand Prix Polini de France to take pole position for tomorrow´s race. Popular Australian McCoy was unable to defend provisional pole after breaking his scaphoid in a spectacular crash during this morning´s practice, leaving Biaggi to battle it out for pole with Kenny Roberts, Valentino Rossi and Shinya Nakano this afternoon.

Rossi and Roberts had a particularly interesting confrontation when the World Champion tried to improve his time by slipstreaming the Championship leader whilst on a fast lap. Rossi realised his game and slowed down to let Roberts through, but the American held his position and waited for his Italian rival to set off again. In the end Roberts almost allowed Rossi to come to a complete stop before eventually making the pass and turning to look at Rossi just in time to see the Italian´s animated gesture.

Roberts eventually took second place on the grid, his best qualifying position of the season, ahead of Rossi, whilst Nakano maintained his 100% front row record in his debut year in the 500 class by qualifying fourth.

On McCoy´s injury Red Bull Yamaha Team Manager Peter Clifford confirmed that he will not return to the track this weekend and will undergo an operation on Monday. ´Garry is definitely out of tomorrow´s race and at the moment it´s looking doubtful for Mugello in two weeks time. We won´t know the full extent of the injury or the recovery time until after the operation, but at the moment he is in a lot of pain and it doesn´t look good.´ McCoy will join 500 contemporaries Leon Haslam and Anthony West watching from the grandstand when tomorrow´s race gets underway.

Carlos Checa made it an excellent day´s work for the Marlboro Yamaha team by taking fifth place on the grid, whilst Noriyuki Haga brought some consolation to the Red Bull Yamaha camp with an excellent sixth. Norick Abe was unable to maintain his excellent form from yesterday and qualified just behind Japanese compatriot Haga, but ahead of Loris Capirossi, who makes up the second row.

Jurgen vd Goorbergh put the three-cylinder Modenas ahead of the factory V4 Honda machines of Tohru Ukawa and Alex Barros, and will start the race from 11th position on the grid. Jarno Janssen qualified for the race despite only stepping in from the European 250cc series as a late substitute for Haruchika Aoki.

500cc, 2001

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