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Biaggi takes third pole of season at Sachsenring

Biaggi takes third pole of season at Sachsenring

Max Biaggi remained on top form at the Sachsenring circuit today, maintaining his provisional placing from yesterday to record his third pole position of the season for the Cinzano Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland. There´s a sense of déjà vu about the grid for tomorrow´s race, with Biaggi´s title rival Valentino Rossi a full ten places behind him on the grid in eleventh place, just as he had been at Donington Park a fortnight ago. Rossi went on to win that race although whether he can repeat such a titanic feat remains to be seen, particularly considering that today´s final session was held on a dry track as opposed to the wet conditions which affected his qualifying time in Great Britain.

´We tried a few things out this morning in an attempt to improve on our effort from yesterday, but the times were not as good as we hoped,´ said Biaggi. ´This afternoon we reverted to the settings we had found yesterday and with some soft tyres on I was able to set the pole lap.´

Biaggi´s Marlboro Yamaha team-mate Carlos Checa turned in a series of fast times to put his machine on the front row in fourth place behind Shinya Nakano, also on a Yamaha, in second and Alex Barros, the only Honda rider to break into the front row. Olivier Jacque and Garry McCoy confirmed that they are back to full fitness with fifth and sixth spot respectively, and they are joined on the second row by Yamaha colleague Norick Abe, who rounded off a satisfactory day for the firm by sealing eighth spot behind another solitary Honda representative - Barros´ team-mate Loris Capirossi.

There was further bad luck for Honda with the news that former World Champion Alex Criville was thrown from both of his NSR 500 machines during the course of the afternoon session and 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. Barros, Vincent and Stigefelt all crashed this afternoon, whilst Capirossi escaped with a wild back end slide having crossed the gravel trap just minutes earlier.

Tetsuya Harada took pole position and Marco Melandri second in a late charge by the Aprilia pair which dropped Honda rider Daijiro Katoh two places to third just minutes ahead of the chequered flag in this afternoon´s final qualifying session for the 250 class. It´s Harada´s fourth pole of the season and his performance was perhaps only overshadowed by Jeremy McWilliams, who sealed the final front row position despite breaking his collarbone just a fortnight ago at Donington and riding with a metal plate inserted in his shoulder. McWilliams only just held on to fourth position after a late effort from Fonsi Nieto, who made it four out of the top five positions on the grid for Aprilia.

Max Sabbatani took his first ever career pole position in the 125 class, and will be hoping to follow up his performance with a first ever win tomorrow. The pint-sized pilot held off the substantial challenge of fellow Italians Simone Sanna and Lucio Cecchinello, who took second and third positions on the grid respectively, all on Aprilia machinery. Gilera rider Manuel Poggiali completes the front row.

Tags:
500cc, 2001, Max Biaggi

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