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Rossi rules in Mugello

Rossi rules in Mugello

Valentino Rossi put in a dominant performance to take provisional pole for the 500 race in this afternoon´s first qualifying practice. The current Championship leader looked in serious mood as he took to the track under the Italian sunshine and consistently maintained his position at the top of the time charts. Only World Champion Kenny Roberts was able to get close to his potential successor with a late series of fast laps which took him to within 0.313 seconds of the Honda man.

The gulf between Rossi and the rest of the field was scantily bridged by the American, with Alex Barros third fastest but a further 0.543 seconds behind. The Brazilian is joined on the provisional front row by West Honda Pons team-mate Loris Capirossi, who won here last year.

The third ´muskateer´, Max Biaggi, was not so fortunate, however and he only just scraped eighth position after crashing twice. The Marlboro Yamaha man, who won the previous round in Le Mans and is many people´s favourite here after forfeiting the win last year with a last lap tumble, makes up an all Yamaha contingent on the provisional second row. The Japanese trio of Norick Abe, Nori Haga and Shinya Nakano, qualified fifth, sixth and seventh respectively.

Alex Criville put in a late fast lap to qualify ninth, whilst compatriot Carlos Checa will be disappointed with twelfth. Apart from Rossi´s clear dominance, very little separated the top fifteen, and Chris Walker will be satisfied with his performance. The British rider finished 3.072 seconds off Rossi.

There were six falls in all, with Tohru Ukawa, Johan Stigefelt and Vladimir Castka joining Biaggi and Walker on the deck.

500cc, 2001

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