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Rossi flexes his muscle as he joins Biaggi under 2.01

Rossi flexes his muscle as he joins Biaggi under 2.01

Valentino Rossi was quickest in this morning´s 500cc second free practice session, and piled the pressure on Max Biaggi as he joined his fellow Italian in being the only riders to go under 2 minutes and one second at the Brno track. It means that this afternoon there is likely to be a spectacular showdown between the two runaway leaders of the 500cc Championship.

Rossi had been at the top of the timesheets momentarily early on, but it was a session dominated by Current World Champion Kenny Roberts, and also punctuated by some flamboyant riding from Australian Garry McCoy. The two traded places ahead of the rest throughout the whole session, and as Roberts´ time was soundly beaten by Rossi, McCoy´s was bettered by Spaniard Checa, pushing McCoy out to fourth fastest. It was a bad session for Shinya Nakano as he only managed four laps of the track such was the pain in his hand. He will take part in this afternoon´s qualifiers to see how it goes, but it doesn´t look good for him.

It was not until his penultimate lap that Rossi made his exceedingly quick 2´00.885, although this remains over half a second slower than Biaggi´s provisional pole, which many see as being a near perfect lap. However, when Rossi made his final lap after the chequered flag, clocking three checkpoints faster than his new best lap, he found Jacque prone on the final curve after the second of his falls in the session, and Valentino was unable to improve his time. Who knows what would have happened had he had a free run?

What does remain clear however, is that this afternoon´s qualifying session promises to be one of the most exciting of the season and one which will see the rivalry between the two main protagonists in the World 500 Championship brought to life once again, as they are pitted against each other in a battle for pole.

500cc, 2001

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