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Rossi gets off to a flyer in Estoril

Rossi gets off to a flyer in Estoril

When Valentino Rossi said this week that the testing he had done at both Brno and Valencia after the Czech race would help him out at Estoril, a track he claims not to like one bit, his performance this morning proved him right. Rossi set the fastest time in the first free practice session in the half-litre class at the Grande Premio Marlboro de Portugal, and in doing so, he also made the fastest time ever of the circuit by a bike.

Rossi hit the top of the time charts early on in the session, and it seemed Loris Capirossi was his only challenger, as his fellow Italian took first place off him midway through. The Championship leader came back with a bang however, storming to a 1´40.503 on his 25th and final lap, over two-tenths inside the circuit best set by McCoy on his way to pole position last year. Capirossi eventually came in second quickest, the only rider able to get within one second of the flying Rossi, he remained 0.895 seconds behind the Nastro Azzuro Honda rider nevertheless.

The main Championship rival to Rossi, Max Biaggi, who will need a result better than Rossi this weekend to keep the pressure on the leader, managed a lowly 14th best time, but after a bit of work, this will surely improve over this afternoon and tomorrow. Behind the two Italians at the front, came Norick Abe, Checa, and Ukawa, with a revived Criville in 6th spot behind them. Kenny Roberts made a late surge into 7th place after his controversial actions during the race two weeks since.

Tags:
500cc, 2001

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