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Aprilia sound a warning to Honda as Lucchi keeps improving

Aprilia sound a warning to Honda as Lucchi keeps improving

Just like in this morning´s free practice session, Aprilia machines have proved that they aim to get on to the top step of the podium by Sunday afternoon, something which they haven´t been able to do this season in any class. The leading light for the Italian based manufacturer in today´s Gran Premio Cinzano d´Italia, 250cc Qualifying Practice One, was Marcellino Lucchi, the Mugello wildcard entry, although this is something of a misnomer for the man who has had such success in the past at this track.

Of the front two rows of the provisional grid, seven come from the Aprilia constructors, with just Daijiro Katoh, the current championship leader representing the Japanese makers, Honda. Lucchi led the time sheets throughout the hour session, with only Jeremy McWilliams and Tetsuya Harada offering any challenge to his dominance of the practice sessions so far. At one point Lucchi and McWilliams were lapping together which made for exciting viewing, every time it looked as though McWilliams would surpass Lucchi´s time, Lucchi would set a quicker lap.

There were crashes for Brazilian Cesar Barros, and Spaniards Luis Costa and Fonsi Nieto, the latter of which was a particularly spectacular highside which TV viewers could see from Nieto´s onboard camera.

Lucchi took provisional pole in a time of 1 minute 54.939 seconds, with McWilliams 0.443 seconds behind, and Harada trailing by 0.697 seconds. Currrently fourth place on the grid will go to Frenchman Randy de Puniet, which would correspond to his best grid ever if he could keep his form up. Melandri, Katoh, Rolfo and Locatelli took places 5th to 8th respectively.

250cc, 2001, Gran Premio Cinzano d'Italia, QP1

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