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Fonsi Nieto scoops second home pole position of the day

Fonsi Nieto scoops second home pole position of the day

As predicted, there was a thrilling finale to the 250cc final qualifying with home rider Fonsi Nieto storming to pole position with a suitably late charge, which saw him break the existing pole record of Nakano from last year. It is the first time that the nephew of the great World Champion Angel Nieto has started from the very front of the grid, and he has managed to do so in front of an enormous home crowd. His time of 1´36.379 is the fastest by a 250 machine of the Valencia circuit and came on his 17th lap of 20.

There was double joy for everyone at the circuit, as Fonsi´s Spanish teammate, Alex Debon, managed a last lap salvo which saw him leapfrog a number of riders to put himself alongside Nieto and in second place on the grid. The Valencia Circuit Aspar team has reached its highest peak at home this weekend, and the only hope is they can reproduce some of this form in the race. Nieto remarked, ´This is the greatest day of my sporting career so far, but we can´t get too carried away as the race is tomorrow and we have work to do there.´

The session had started ominously with the return of the rain that had dissipated after the 500s, a few of the riders braving a single lap but then deciding to wait. It was the right decision as it was only a passing shower, and once the track had dried, there was around 40 minutes left to go out and set a time. Nieto and Debon snatched the front two positions, but that wasn´t the only action to reward the crowd in the session. Provisional pole holder Melandri could only improve slightly on yesterday´s time and finished sixth, while Championship leader Daijiro Katoh will start from outside the front row for the first time this season after a dry qualifying session, finishing fifth.

Roberto Locatelli performed some more last lap heroics to make third on the grid, while Tetsuya Harada also saved it to the end to snatch the last front row spot from Katoh. Jeremy McWilliams (7th) and Naoki Matsudo (8th) completed the second row after what was a breathtaking end to a day´s qualifying.

A notable absentee was Aprilia Germany´s Klaus Nöhles, whose contract termination by the Italian manufacturer has been immediate.

250cc, 2001, Gran Premio Marlboro de la Comunitat Valenciana, QP1

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