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Capirossi sets Assen alight as Biaggi and Rossi smoulder

Capirossi sets Assen alight as Biaggi and Rossi smoulder

Loris Capirossi was on top form once again today during the final qualifying session of the Dutch TT at Assen, blasting his own pole record from yesterday by over half a second and leaving title rivals Max Biaggi and Valentino Rossi trailing in his wake. The Italian trio have taken every pole position this so far season and will go head to head from the front row tomorrow, with Biaggi and Rossi in second and third respectively. The latter pair kept their promise of keeping their fighting to the track and battled all the way to the chequered flag in an attempt to topple Capirossi.

Rossi seemed to be struggling with suspension settings throughout the session but made a late raid on his compatriots which ultimately proved academic as first Capirossi and then Biaggi set times under the 2´01 mark for the first time in the circuit´s history. Alex Barros stayed sufficiently ahead of the rest of the field to take the final front row spot.

Shinya Nakano qualified fifth with another consistent ride aboard the Yamaha, whilst Kenny Roberts was unable to hang on to his provisional front row spot but dropped no lower than sixth thanks to some fast early laps in this afternoon´s session. Two more Yamaha machines make up the second row with Carlos Checa and Norick Abe qualifying seventh and eighth respectively.

Abe crashed but escaped unhurt, as did fellow Japanese rider Noriyuki Haga, who was victim to another spectacular highside. Sete Gibernau and Kenny Roberts both ran off the track but kept control of their respective Suzuki machines.

500cc, 2001

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