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Daijiro Katoh picks up the gauntlet

Daijiro Katoh picks up the gauntlet

After suffering his first ´defeat´ of the season in Mugello, when he came in in tenth position, Telefónica Movistar Honda rider, Daijiro Katoh took the initiative this morning in the 250cc first free practice, and set the fastest time of the morning. Following him on the timesheets are Italian Marco Melandri and winner of the Italian race, Tetsuya Harada, as the Gran Premi Marlboro de Catalunya finished its first morning´s action.

Katoh was setting quick laps from early on in the session, and despite Rolfo pushing him, he was able to better the Italian´s times. His final fastest lap came on his 22nd of 24, and was a time of 1 minute 48.525 seconds. Marco Melandri, despite still suffering a great deal of pain from the dislocated shoulder that befell him in Le Mans, is just 0.162 seconds behind Katoh on his Aprilia, with teammate Tetsuya Harada just 0.3 behind him.

It was good to see Roberto Rolfo following on from his podium spot in Mugello with a fourth fastest time here, and Ulsterman Jeremy McWilliams after languishing for most of the session about 10 seconds behind the leaders, ended up as 5th fastest despite having been forced to change teams just over a week ago. Locatelli had a good ride, ending up in six, but amongst the quickest men during the session, also on Aprilia. In fact the Italian marque had 7 riders in the top 8, just Katoh as a non-Honda.

250cc, 2001, Gran Premi Marlboro de Catalunya, FP1

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