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Ukawa, Katoh and Poggiali defy breezy conditions to warm up quickest

Ukawa, Katoh and Poggiali defy breezy conditions to warm up quickest

On a blustery but so far dry race day in Phillip Island, Tohru Ukawa began the brightest as he set the best time in this morning´s 500cc warm-up session: The Repsol YPF Honda rider has looked good in recent weeks, and starting from eighth on the grid he will be hoping to get a good start to put him in contention. Olivier Jacque set consistently quick lap times during yesterday´s qualifiers and looks to have found the form which has deserted him since he won the race and the title here in Australia last year. Alex Barros was third, while Valentino Rossi´s nerves are not yet showing despite the fact that he could set history if he takes the 500cc title this afternoon. Behind the front four came Biaggi, Roberts, Gibernau and Haga.

Daijiro Katoh will not be starting from pole position this afternoon, but he showed that he can lap consistently quick around this Phillip Island track as he went on to set the fastest time in this morning´s warm-up session. Jeremy McWilliams, who has set pole here for the last two years (250 and 500), was in close attention to the Japanese rider however, and with the Briton starting from second on the grid, the start is going to be crucial. Pole holder Tetsuya Harada finished fifth fastest this morning, behind Locatelli and Lanzi, but ahead of Alzamora, Rolfo and De Puniet.

Manuel Poggiali set the fastest time in this morning´s warm up session for the smallest category, following on from his superb pole position of yesterday. Behind him was his main Championship adversary, Toni Elias, who has looked a little out of sorts this weekend until now. Elias will be starting from 17th on the grid, so it will remain to be seen if he can do anything from such a lowly grid position. Two more riders who have looked good this weekend, Cecchinello and Sanna, were in third and fourth, with Rodriguez, Pedrosa, Azuma and young wildcard Stoner right behind. Youichi Ui, the only other rider with a realistic chance of the title, came home twelfth, but will be starting from third on the grid.

500cc, 2001

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