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First blood to Harada in two-way Japanese tussle

First blood to Harada in two-way Japanese tussle

Tetsuya Harada came out on top in a battle of wits with title adversary Daijiro Katoh as the pair fought for the affections of the Japanese public and, more importantly, provisional pole for the 250cc race. Aprilia rider Harada took the advantage by 0.420 seconds although the popularity contest is sure to be a tighter result as two of the nation´s best loved sons go head to head for the World Championship title. This afternoon´s first qualifying session was dominated by the duo, with Melandri, McWilliams and Alzamora leading the battle for the remaining front row spots.

In the end it was Italian Melandri and Briton McWilliams who made sure the front row was 75% Aprilia, Katoh´s Spanish Honda team-mate Alzamora struggling from a cheek injury and eventually sliding down the classification to qualify on eighth.

Alzamora takes up the final position on a second row headed by Italian Locatelli, who recovered from a crash to set his fastest time, followed by Naoki Matsudo and Alex Debon in sixth and seventh respectively.

250cc, 2001

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