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Rossi shines in qualifying for Gran Premi Marlboro de Catalunya

Rossi shines in qualifying for Gran Premi Marlboro de Catalunya

Valentino Rossi took his fourth pole position from the first six races of the season today in the final qualifying session of the Gran Premi Marlboro de Catalunya. The Italian set just one fast lap but it was enough to knock compatriot Loris Capirossi off the top of the time sheets after the Honda Pons man failed to improve his provisional pole time from yesterday.

´Yesterday I had some problems, I crashed and we lost time with the set-up of the bike,´ said Rossi. ´Today we´ve worked well, more in respect to the race as opposed to the lap time but I made a good lap without mistakes and set the pole record. This track is so hard on tyres, so for sure it will be a very fun race and I hope to arrive on the podium.´

Capirossi was relegated to third on the grid when he failed to emerge from the pit lane in time on a soft tyre, allowing Shinya Nakano to put his Yamaha in second spot behind Rossi and consolidate his position as the fastest rider of the day for the Japanese factory. Max Biaggi also made the front row of the grid with a fast lap late in the session although he was unable to dislodge Italian compatriot Capirossi and had to settle for fourth place.

Biaggi´s late charge dropped Alex Barros to the second row in fifth place, pushing Jurgen vd Goorbergh out to sixth on the Proton KR3 machine. Kenny Roberts and Norick Abe make up the top eight, whilst the three Catalan riders racing at their home Grand Prix, Sete Gibernau, Alex Criville and Carlos Checa line up on the third row in that order behind Tohru Ukawa. Meanwhile it has been confirmed that Garry McCoy will not ride in tomorrow’s race, after he failed to recover in time from a broken scaphoid.

The 250 riders have got used to Daijiro Katoh´s whirlwind start to the Championship, although nothing could have prepared them for the real thing. The final qualifying session for the quarter litre category was interrupted by a tornado after 25 minutes, with advertising hoardings and debris blowing across the track.

With Katoh sitting pretty at the top of the time sheets it proved difficult for the riders to improve their lap times after the restart on a dusty track. Tetsuya Harada was the only man to break into the provisional front row, although he was unable to prevent his Japanese compatriot Katoh from taking his fifth pole of the season, qualifying second. The pair are joined on the front row by Fonsi Nieto and Marco Melandri.

Italian veteran Lucio Cecchinello broke Youichi Ui´s dominance of the qualifying sessions so far this season with pole position in the 125 class. Cecchinello maintained his provisional pole from yesterday and his position never really looked as many of the riders struggled to improve their initial qualifying times. It wasn’t until ten minutes before the end that Noboru Ueda moved up the order into second, with Ui producing his usual late charge to qualify third, just ahead of Stefano Perugini. Championship leader Gino Borsoi qualified in eleventh.

500cc, 2001, Valentino Rossi

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