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Capirossi on provisional pole as Rossi crashes again

Capirossi on provisional pole as Rossi crashes again

Loris Capirossi made the most of a mistake by Valentino Rossi to take provisional pole position in an incident packed first qualifying session in the 500 class at the Circuit of Catalunya. The West Honda Pons rider has been in impressive form throughout the day, as has team-mate Alex Barros, and he came within 0.004 seconds of Alex Criville´s pole record at the Spanish circuit. Barros was third fastest overall behind Norick Abe, despite taking over at the top of the time sheets when Rossi fell for the second time in two weeks, after his last lap race tumble a fortnight ago in Mugello.

The Nastro Azzurro rider lost the front end of his Honda NSR when braking hard into a right hand corner. Having made a major rear tyre slide into the curve, Rossi tried to pull his bike up to avoid skidding into the gravel, but put too much momentum onto the front end and hit the deck regardless. As he dusted himself down, Barros made his move, only to be dislodged by Capirossi and Abe at the end of the session, and Rossi had to settle for the final front row position on the provisional grid.

There were a couple of surprises on the second row as Jurgen vd Goorbergh put his three cylinder Modenas KR3 alongside consistent Yamaha rider Shinya Nakano. The ´Flying Dutchman´ looked good through the flowing corners of the Montmeló track, and can realistically hope for his best performance of the season this weekend.

The other unexpected appearance in the top eight was Sete Gibernau, who lapped well on his Suzuki at his home track. Gibernau had an animated argument with Max Biaggi after the Italian closed the door when the Spaniard tried to go through on the inside, but had the last laugh when the Yamaha rider qualified back in thirteenth. Biaggi´s team-mate Carlos Checa makes up the second row.

Other fallers in the session included Tohru Ukawa, who escaped uninjured, Chris Walker and Johan Stigefelt. Walker highsided his Honda NSR right in front of Stigefelt, and the Swedish rider was unable to avoid the melee as he tumbled over the top of his Sabre V4 machine. The pair are currently undergoing tests in the medical centre.

500cc, 2001

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