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Tetsuya Harada on top in 250

Tetsuya Harada on top in 250

Tetsuya Harada took provisional pole at the Estoril circuit this afternoon with best lap of 1´42.780, with Championship leader Daijiro Katoh settling for second place on the provisional grid despite dominating the first qualifying practice for the 250cc category. Harada´s best lap came four minutes from the end of a session which saw Aprilia team-mates Marco Melandri and Jeremy McWilliams start extremely quickly and produce strong finishes to take up third and fourth place respectively on the front row of the provisional grid.

Katoh is the only Honda on the front row despite the best efforts of David Checa, who was happy to settle for sixth spot behind the Aprilia of fellow Spaniard Fonsi Nieto despite flirting with the top four positions with just ten minutes remaining of the session. Naoki Matsudo qualified in seventh place on the Yamaha with privateer Roberto Rolfo completing the provisional second row on his Aprilia.

Rolfo set his time late in the session having suffered an early crash involving David de Gea. Randy de Puniet, Franco Battaini, Jason Vincent and David Tomas (twice) also tumbled out of the action but all escaped injury.

250cc, 2001, Grande Premio Marlboro de Portugal, QP1

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