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Rossi sets early pace in first practice

Rossi sets early pace in first practice

Valentino Rossi set the fastest time during the first free practice session for the 500cc category at his ´home´ GP in Mugello. In the build up to this week´s race, all the talk has been about how the three Italian riders, Biaggi, Capirossi and Rossi would be battling it out in the Tuscan countryside, and while today’s practice showed that this would almost certainly the case, Kenny Roberts’ promise that the Suzuki would be more competitive in Italy also rang true.

After an unlikely shower of rain fell over the track at Mugello 35 minutes into the practice, a ten minute stint in the pit lane was followed by some great lap times by the lead riders, despite a damp track. Rossi had held the fastest time from the early laps, and of the others only Biaggi had been within a second of him. But as the riders re-emerged with the sun, so did the challenge from the American and from his other compatriot Loris Capirossi.

Rossi ended up with a fastest time of 1 minute 54.199 seconds, with Roberts 0.2 seconds behind. They are followed by Biaggi and Capirossi, and then outside one second of Rossi, is Barros – who suffered a fall just as the rain began to fall, seemingly a problem with his suspension. He is followed by Abe, Criville, Checa and Ukawa.

500cc, 2001

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