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West Honda Pons

West Honda Pons

Italian Loris Capirossi set the fastest ever motorcycle lap at Motegi to grab pole position for the Pacific Grand Prix in Japan. In a great day for the West Honda Pons team his team-mate Alex Barros will also start fromthe front row of the grid for the 25 lap MotoGP 500 race tomorrow (Sunday).

In another super final qualifying session, held in warm sunny conditions round the 4.801kms Motegi Twin Ring circuit, Capirossi took his thirdpole position of the season. His record breaking lap of one minute 49.800 seconds came with just over four minutes remaining. Barros finally qualified third fastest with Italian Yamaha rider Max Biaggi sandwiched between the two West Honda Pons NSR machines in third place. Biaggi had started the last five grands prix in pole position but finished just under half a second slower than Capirossi´s record lap.

The front row of the grid was completed by Championship leader ValentinoRossi who starts this 13th round of the Championship with a 42 point leadover Biaggi with four rounds remaining.

World Champion Kenny Roberts led the way in the first qualifying session yesterday, riding the Suzuki. The American was unhurt when he crashed thisafternoon with 23 minutes of the session remaining. He finally qualifiedsixth, the only rider not to improve on his Friday time. He was joined onthat second row by Yamaha team-mates Shinya Nakano and Olivier Jacque andValencia Grand Prix winner Sete Gibernau.

Biaggi was the first rider to push Roberts off pole but was quickly followed by first Capirossi and then Barros with less than 15 minutes remaining. Biaggi fought back to regain pole with five minutes left before Capirossi shattered the lap record.

LORIS CAPIROSSI, pole - I´m so happy to be on pole especially after all the hard work the team have put in since my great disappointment in Valencia.Of course I´m confident for the race but it will be very difficult. I just hope it stays as dry and sunny as it was today because the conditions were perfect. We have good settings and tyres for the race. It was a greatpole setting lap without any mistakes and a excellent session for the team.´

ALEX BARROS, third - I´m a bit disappointed at the finish because I didnot get pole. However, I managed some fast consistent laps and have a good set-up and tyres for the race. Congratulations to Loris who put in a veryfast pole setting lap. I´m confident about the race and I think we have areal chance although it will not be easy.´

500cc, 2001

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