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Biaggi takes third pole of season at Sachsenring
Max Biaggi remained well ahead of his rivals in the 500 class today, maintaining his provisional grid position to record his third pole position of the season for the Cinzano Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at Sachsenring. Biaggi faces an identical situation to that of two weeks ago at Donington Park, with title rival and Championship leader Valentino Rossi a full ten places behind him on the grid in 11th place. Whether or not Rossi will be able to repeat his performance of a fortnight ago and recover the difference to beat his Italian compatriot remains to be seen, particularly considering that today´s final qualifying session was held in dry conditions.
It was an outstanding day´s work for Biaggi´s Marlboro Yamaha team, with Carlos Checa turning in a series of fast lap to line up on the front row in fourth place, showing the sort of consistent pace which could prove to be the key to success when the red lights go out for tomorrow´s race. Another Yamaha, that of Shinya Nakano, will line up alongside Biaggi in second place, whilst Alex Barros was the only Honda rider to break the front row, in third.
Olivier Jacque and Garry McCoy confirmed that they are back to full fitness with fifth and sixth spot respectively. The Yamaha pair are joined on the second row by another solitary Honda representative, Barros´ team-mate Loris Capirossi, with Norick Abe rounding off a fantastic day for the factory by sealing eighth spot.
Suzuki team-mates Kenny Roberts, in ninth, and Sete Gibernau, tenth, will be ahead of Rossi at the start of tomorrow´s race, and the outlook is not good for the Italian as he struggled to adjust the Honda´s set-up to the tight German circuit. Rossi´s HRC colleague Alex Criville suffered slightly more, however, when he was thrown from both of his NSR 500 machines during the course of the afternoon session. The former World Champion now faces a race against time to be fit for the race, whilst his team will be working against the clock just to have a motorcycle ready for him in time for tomorrow´s warm-up. Vincent, Barros and Stigefelt all crashed this afternoon, whilst Capirossi escaped with a wild back end slide having crossed the gravel trap just minutes earlier.
17 years ago