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Katoh on course for 250 title in Malaysia
Daijiro Katoh looks well on course for his tenth win of the 2001 season and the 250cc World Championship title after dominating the first qualifying session and taking a comfortable provisional pole at Sepang today. Katoh´s only rival for the quarter-litre crown, Tetsuya Harada, crashed in the morning´s free practice and was unable to put any pressure on his Japanese compatriot, eventually setting a late lap to move from 13th to a final 7th on the provisional grid.That Katoh was the fastest rider will come as no surprise, so perhaps the performance of the day came from Frenchman Randy de Puniet, second fastest behind the championship leader throughout the session as the duo consistently set times which were simply out of reach for the rest of the field. With Melandri taking things steady due to a hand injury which kept him out of the last race at Phillip Island, McWilliams, Fonsi Nieto, Rolfo and Alzamora were left to battle it out for the remaining front row spots and repeatedly swapped positions in a hectic finale. McWilliams jumped from fifth to third on a last lap posted after the chequered flag had been waved, with Nieto holding on for fourth.
17 years ago