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Harada will have to work for fifth consecutive pole as Katoh shows he means business

Harada will have to work for fifth consecutive pole as Katoh shows he means business

Tetsuya Harada may have taken provisional pole position yesterday afternoon, but a thundering performance from Daijiro Katoh must have told him that he will have his work cut out to hold on to it again this afternoon. Katoh was in devastating form, knocking over 0.2 seconds off Harada´s pole time, and in doing so setting the fastest ever lap of the track by a 250 bike. His time of 1´42.396 will even take some beating when the racers really go for it in the qualifying session, Katoh himself may even have some reserve in the tank to extend the advantage.

Behind Katoh came the Briton Jeremy McWilliams in a penultimate lap surge which took him from fourth into second behind the Japanese Championship leader. His Aprilia colleague Harada came in behind him, and the Italian Melandri, who appeared to be struggling throughout the session, slotted into fourth spot. It was the same four who headed the field on the Brno grid, and it would almost be a safe bet to expect the front row to have the same components again.

It certainly does promise to be an exciting session in the 250 class this afternoon, with Katoh looking to stamp his authority, while Harada aims to get his fifth pole in as many races. Behind the battling front four, the only other rider able to get within a second was Spaniard Fonsi Nieto, showing his consistency as the fifth component of the class. There was a first fall on the Honda for Katja Poensgen, but she should be okay to take part in the afternoon´s session.

250cc, 2001, Grande Premio Marlboro de Portugal, FP1

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