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Rossi continues to dominate in Estoril

Rossi continues to dominate in Estoril

He has been at the front all weekend, riding in imperious fashion throughout the practice sessions so far, and once again he dominated this practice, leading from five minutes into the hour until the very end. Valentino Rossi constantly pushed his bike to new limits this morning and increased his leading time regularly, ending up recording a new fastest ever lap of the Estoril circuit of 1´40.371, 0.018 quicker than his provisional pole time. However he would do well to learn the lesson of his championship rival Max Biaggi, who dominated similarly at Brno but then crashed out in the race. Much as Rossi entered the fray on the Saturday there, Biaggi is clearly still a threat, third provisionally on the grid.

However, the session was not just about the Italians, although Capirossi had been closest to Rossi for long periods of time this morning. There was an impressive performance from the Spaniards Checa and Gibernau, who set the second and third fastest times. Gibernau even threatened to surpass Rossi´s time with an excellent last lap, which had seen him up on the Honda rider´s quickest checkpoints until he crossed the line. It wasn´t to be and he had to settle for a time just quicker than that of Biaggi´s.

Gibernau´s Suzuki teammate Kenny Roberts had also looked impressive throughout the hour, but slipped back to seventh, as Capirossi and Ukawa bettered his time late on. The American is under pressure to make a good showing this weekend after having received widespread criticism for his actions during last week´s race. The World Champion will undoubtedly be determined to prove that he has the mettle to perform at the highest level again, and can be expected to improve on his provisional ninth place on the grid.

Tags:
500cc, 2001

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