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West Honda Pons

West Honda Pons

In a mixed day for the West Honda Pons team Alex Barros was second fastestin the first qualifying session for the Australian Grand Prix at PhillipIsland this afternoon, (Friday). In windy conditions on a drying track histeam-mate Loris Capirossi had a tough time and was finally tenth fastestin the session led by Australian Yamaha rider Garry McCoy.

Championship leader Italian Honda rider Valentino Rossi had a eventfultimeround the demanding 4.448 kms circuit, situated 120 kms south ofMelbourne.He crashed halfway through the one hour session and also ran off thecircuit but fought back to finally qualify third fastest behind Barros.

To the delight of the windswept patriotic crowd McCoy grabbed provisionalpole on his very last lap after Barros had led the way throughout . It wasa typical display from the hard riding Australian with the rear tyresmoking on his fastest lap. He led Barros by just 0.095 seconds.

´That´s a good start to the weekend for me but there is still a very longway to go,´ explained McCoy.´ Everyone expects me to do well because it´smy home grand prix . I try not to think about that but the questionsalways there.´

Completing the provisional front row was Spanish Yamaha rider Carlos Checawhile his team-mate Max Biaggi was seventh. Despite the conditions, lessthan one second covered the first nine riders. World 250 Champion OlivierJacque, Dutchman Jurgen vd Goorbergh and Shinya Nakano completed theprovisional second row.

Barry Veneman fell without injury while 18 year old British rider LeonHaslam rode the twin cylinder Honda instead of the NSR v-four Honda. Theweather forecast for tomorrow is for a dry morning and wet afternoon.

ALEX BARROS second. ´ I feel good because I was able to work on theset-upand the tyres and still finish in second place. I had problems with thelast couple of tyres I tested and I hope the weather tomorrow willimprove.I can put in consistent laps but the wind is a big problem. So much willdepend on how it is tomorrow but I hope I can improve my lap times.´

LORIS CAPIROSSI tenth. ´ It was very hard out there in the wind. I´m alight rider and it was a bad day of practice for us. I could get nofeeling on the bike and tyres and I pulled in for the last few minutes. Ijust hope it is not so windy tomorrow and we can improve the set-up andtyres. I will try a harder compound and I hope that will help.´

500cc, 2001

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