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Impressive beginnings for Marco Melandri in Spain

Impressive beginnings for Marco Melandri in Spain

Marco Melandri began his quest for points at the Gran Premio Marlboro de la Comunitat Valencia with an impressive first outing in the 250cc practice session today. Melandri is currently the third of the leading trio of riders who consistently have proved themselves to be head and shoulders above the rest. Melandri has been in fine form since the summer break, and is just nine points behind his teammate Tetsuya Harada. As in the 500 class, it could be more a battle for pride and for second place between these two colleagues, with Harada 44 points behind runaway leader Katoh.

With Melandri fastest in a time of 1´37.346, Katoh was the next quickest out there, 0.325 seconds behind the Italian. The Japanese Honda rider tested here at Valencia with the rest of the HRC bikes and will surely have something in reserve, as he bettered this time in those tests. He will be looking to stretch his huge lead even further, as well as his run of consecutive points scoring finishes, which is now at 27 races.

Jeremy McWilliams came home behind Katoh, with an impressive Alex Debon, riding for the Circuit de Valencia sponsored Aspar Aprilia team, setting the fourth fastest time. Locatelli, Alzamora, De Puniet and De Gea completed the top eight, with Harada just behind. He will need to win here to close the gap to Katoh and have any hope of taking the championship, as he works to find a race set-up, that must be his only goal.

250cc, 2001, Gran Premio Marlboro de la Comunitat Valenciana, FP1

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