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Japanese one-two but no thoughts of riding for country when Championships are at stake

Japanese one-two but no thoughts of riding for country when Championships are at stake

The top two riders of the 250 category showed their pedigree this afternoon as they battled it out in a frenetic last lap which eventually saw Tetsuya Harada walk away with pole position. The runaway leader in the Championship, Daijiro Katoh, threw down the gauntlet to his compatriot as the chequered flag went out, setting a new fastest lap to relegate Harada into second. The MS Aprilia rider picked it up however, and went one better by reclaiming top spot, and holding on to the provisional pole he held yesterday.

It looked as though Harada was not going to better his time, but that it would remain the best time of the session, with nobody getting close, not even Harada, until the dying seconds of the hour. Then the Telefonica Movistar Honda rider beat Harada´s time, just before the chequered flag was waved, and Harada had his final lap to better his time from yesterday and Katoh´s new pole time. He responded to the pressure brilliantly, and took pole from under Katoh´s nose to the delight of the Motegi fans.

Behind the duelling Japanese it was a familiar story, with Marco Melandri and Jeremy McWilliams making up the remaining two places on the front row for tomorrow´s race. The second row is comprised of Katoh´s Honda teammate Emilio Alzamora, with Aprilia riders Nieto, De Puniet and Rolfo just behind. The fans are promised a battle tomorrow, as Harada looks to make some sort of impression on Katoh´s enormous 49-point lead.

Tags:
250cc, 2001

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