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Poggiali takes sensational first career pole

Poggiali takes sensational first career pole

Manuel Poggiali ruined Youichi Ui´s one man show in the 125 class with a stunning performance in this afternoon´s final qualifying practice which knocked over a second off last year´s pole time and placed him out of reach of his in-form Japanese adversary. Championship leader Toni Elias had been gobsmacked by Ui´s performance in yesterday´s first qualifier but he was struggling to believe his eyes as he watched his main title rival close in on the Derbi rider´s provisional pole time before destroying it with a little over ten minutes remaining. It was Gilera rider Poggiali´s first ever career pole and was a clear indication of his intentions with six races of the season remaining and a 22 point gap separating him from Elias in the rider standings.

Elias was eventually forced to settle for a second row spot as Italian duo Simone Sanna and Lucio Cecchinello emerged to take third and fourth place on the grid respectively. Cecchinello was consistently fast throughout the session whilst Sanna set a series of fast late laps to put himself in contention for what promises to be another breathtaking start to finish battle in the World Championship´s minor class.

Czech rider Jakub Smrz in seventh is the only non-Spaniard on the second row after fine performances from Angel Rodriguez and Dani Pedrosa put the 16 year old duo in sixth and eighth place respectively. The Iberian peninsular could have had even more reason to celebrate but for a fall for youngster Joan Olive which ruled him out of the crucial final stages of the session after consistently lapping with the quickest riders on the track.

125cc, 2001, Grande Premio Marlboro de Portugal, QP1

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