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Criville will not race as Elias crashes in incident packed warm-ups

Criville will not race as Elias crashes in incident packed warm-ups

The warm-ups this morning were full of interest and incident as the final preparations for the race got under way. The most apparent detail for the 500 practice was the fact that ex-World Champion Alex Criville did not take part, and was seen in the box dressed in casual clothes, obviously unable to take part in the race due to the heavy crash he suffered yesterday, which left him requiring a CAT scan. His compatriot Sete Gibernau was fastest in the session, ahead of Max Biaggi and Alex Barros, with Rossi making good time to finish as fifth fastest, showing that while many may have written off his chances of repeating last week´s win from eleventh on the grid, he will give it his best shot. Johan Stigefelt, the other injury worry besides Alex Criville, nursed a sprained ankle overnight, but was comfortable enough to ride. Aoki crashed and Abe went off the track, both at the end of the final straight, where many have succumbed to the cruel right-hand bend this weekend.

The quarter litre category had their 20-minute session dominated by the grid front-runners. Briton Jeremy McWilliams, lying fourth on the grid for tomorrow´s race, set the fastest time. He was closely followed by pole-holder Harada, and second placed Melandri. Championship leader Daijiro Katoh was fifth fastest behind French racer Randy de Puniet in an incident free session barring home rider Alex Hofmann´s off track excursion.

The 125 warm-up saw Toni Elias, podium finisher for the last three races, crash out at the end of the start finish straight. His bike looked a bit of a mess as Elias trudged back to the pits, and it will mean some fast repair work for his team. Fastest in the session was Italian Simone Sanna who will start the race from second on the grid, followed by Lucio Cecchinello and Championship leader Manuel Poggiali. Notable absentees were Nobby Ueda, whose hairline fracture of the ankle picked up in yesterday´s qualifier will see him miss the race, and Gaspare Caffiero, still suffering from a crash in Friday´s qualifying practice.

500cc, 2001

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