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Jurgen sets the cat amongst the pigeons in front of a soaked home crowd

Jurgen sets the cat amongst the pigeons in front of a soaked home crowd

Is home advantage going to play a part in the wet weather this afternoon? Jurgen van den Goorbergh set the fastest time by over 1.5 seconds in this morning´s wet warm-up session, and looked as if his promise of a podium position earlier in the week, may not be too much to ask for. The Dutch hope´s Proton KR3 may prove to be just the right machine for the conditions, as the first set of riders included both the 4 and 2 valve machines, wet-specialist Haruchika Aoki finishing third quickest for example. It will certainly be an interesting session, but 2000 wet-race winner Alex Barros may want to rethink his tactics after crashing out this morning, along with young Briton Leon Haslam, who had set some fast laps and spent time behind vd Goorbergh in the time charts, before finding himself in the gravel after the chequered flag.

Pre-race favourites, the Italian trio of Capirossi, Biaggi and Rossi, set the 9th, 4th and 8th fastest times respectively and will need to improve their times this afternoon if they want a repeat version of Catalunya´s Italian whitewash. The other most notable times were Abe´s second place behind the ´Flying Dutchman´ and Tohru Ukawa´s 5th fastest time.

Briton Jeremy McWilliams took the fastest time in the 250 session, he will be keen not to make a similar mistake to the one the saw him out of Mugello, when in a good position. Japanese rider Tetsuya Harada must have taken a step out of his motorhome this morning, and wondered what he had done to deserve such fortune. He is on pole position and will fancy his chances of taking the championship lead this afternoon. Marco Melandri must also be in contention taking the third fastest time and looking comfortable. Championship leader Daijiro Katoh only made the 22nd best time this morning and it looks as if he might struggle if the rain doesn´t relent.

In the 125 category, it looks like experience may come into the equation in the difficult conditions, with Youichi Ui and Gino Borsoi heading the timesheets in the short 15 minute session. Ui won here last year, although unlike the 500 race, it was in dry conditions. With Borsoi starting from pole, he may be able to put that to his advantage if he gets a good start. Behind these two came the two young pretenders, Manuel Poggiali and Toni Elias who will both no doubt show, and also came Alex De Angelis, who may be the surprise package to look out for in these unpredictable and treacherous conditions. Nobby Ueda and Jarno Muller were fallers in the session.

500cc, 2001

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