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Rossi resumes control as McCoy crashes out

Rossi resumes control as McCoy crashes out

Valentino Rossi returned to the top of the time sheets in the first 500 free practice session of the Grand Prix Polini de France this morning as provisional pole holder Garry McCoy suffered a spectacular crash just a short while from the end of the session. McCoy had dominated proceedings under the French sunshine, but his late mistake let in Rossi to put his name back on top of the pile ahead of this afternoon´s final qualifying session. The Australian has broken bones in his hand and at this point in time is out of tomorrow´s race. It will take a miraculous recovery if he is to maintain his title challenge here in France.

Kenny Roberts continued his good form on a track notoriously difficult for the Suzuki bike to set the third fastest lap of the session and raise hopes that he will be able to maintain his provisional front row slot. Shinya Nakano raised spirits in the Tech 3 camp after the news that team-mate Olivier Jacque would miss his home GP through injury with the fourth fastest lap of this morning´s session and some consistent riding. Nakano´s Japanese compatriot and fellow Yamaha rider Norick Abe had a less productive session however and despite having taken second place on the provisional grid yesterday he struggled to maintain good speed today and finds himself midway down the time sheets.

Three riders crashed in total, all of them in spectacular style. Johan Stigefelt and Anthony West joined Garry McCoy on the deck, and you can see full motion images of Australian slide specialist McCoy being thrown out of the seat of his Yamaha by clicking on the Flash link.

500cc, 2001

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