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Unfamliar opening to the 500cc weekend, as Checa sets fastest time

Unfamliar opening to the 500cc weekend, as Checa sets fastest time

As the 500cc bikes went round the much modified Sachsenring track, it appeared that some riders were adapting more quickly to the new conditions than others. Surprisingly it was Carlos Checa who set the fastest time of the 500cc first free practice, followed by none of the championship leaders. The Spaniard will hope that this signals a change in fortune, after not finishing in Mugello and Assen, and an 8th and 5th in Catalunya and Donington.

Checa´s time of 1´27.163 is almost exactly four seconds outside last year´s pole position time, showing that despite only being lengthened by 180m, that the lap is much slower as a result. Nevertheless, Rossi´s fastest speed today of 264km/h is 5 km/h quicker than last year´s top speed by Biaggi, undoubtedly due to the lengthened straight. Rossi was seventh fastest this morning the first rider outside a second of Checa.

The group of riders who made up the top six was an unfamiliar sight; Red Bull Yamaha´s Garry McCoy showed he has taken the necessary amount of time to recuperate, and made the second fastest time of the morning. Gauloises Yamaha Tech3 riders Shinya Nakano and Olivier Jacque were third and fifth respectively, with Kenny Roberts in 4th and a recovering Norick Abe in sixth. This, while being a surprise to all present, also meant that there was not one single Honda in the top six, with five Yamaha and one Suzuki.

Max Biaggi finished down in 11th spot, with West Honda Pons riders Capirossi and Barros, third and fourth in the overall standings, lying in 8th and 10th places. It is also interesting to see Leon Haslam in his first ride on the Shell Advance Honda V4 who finished the session in 15th spot, with his new teammate Brendan Clarke in 22nd, ahead only of Barry Veneman.

Tags:
500cc, 2001

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