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Rossi dominance shadowed by across the board equality

Rossi dominance shadowed by across the board equality

Yet again it was the Honda NSR500 of Valentino Rossi setting the fastest time of the practice session here in Valencia. The Championship leader made his best time of the weekend in a session which saw a good number of riders improving their times from yesterday´s qualifiers. The most notable thing after the hour however, was the equality which reigns over the elite class, with 15 of the 23 riders all lapping within one second of the lead bike.

Rossi´s time of 1´35.186 is still outside the pole record set by Roberts at this track last year, and is likely to be broken this afternoon if the overcast weather doesn´t worsen. It was a time which was under threat however, most notably from home rider Carlos Checa. On board his Marlboro Yamaha, he managed to get within a tenth of the Italian, with a series of quick laps three-quarters of the way through the session. He was followed on the time sheets by American Kenny Roberts and Gauloises Tech3 rider, Shinya Nakano.

Rossi´s only real challenger in the title chase languished back in fourteenth spot overall, but this will not worry the Roman, he still was only 0.875 behind his rival and with another session to go he will be hoping his team can make the same improvements as seen on his teammate Checa´s bike. He had to watch though, as the other Yamaha riders lined up behind Rossi.

500cc, 2001

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