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Capirossi takes unchallenged fourth pole of season

Capirossi takes unchallenged fourth pole of season

Loris Capirossi took pole position for the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in sweltering conditions at the Sepang circuit this afternoon. Capirossi´s pole record lap of 2´05.637, set in the first qualifying practice yesterday, proved to be just out of reach of fellow Italian Rossi, whose Honda provided the only real pole threat today as several of the riders struggled to lower their provisional times. One of those unable to improve was Yamaha rider Biaggi, who qualified in third despite falling. McCoy, also on a Yamaha, did manage to move up one place however and completes the front row in fourth.

´I had thought that my time from yesterday would be enough to put me on the front row so today we concentrated on tyres and settings for the race,´ said Capirossi. ´To be on pole is very pleasing but it will be a difficult race. The heat makes it very hard on tyres so rubber choice will be extremely important.´

The Italian´s Honda Pons colleague Barros crashed but will be fit to head the second row in fifth place. He is joined by Yamaha pair Nakano and Jacque in sixth and seventh place respectively and leading Suzuki rider Gibernau in eighth. Haslam and Vd Goorbergh were the only other two riders to fall, the Dutchman suffering slight concussion. His wildcard team-mate for this race, Kurtis Roberts, qualified eighteenth.

Daijiro Katoh had already sealed pole position when he set the best ever lap of the Sepang circuit by a 250 machine at the end of the final qualifying session for the quarter-litre class. The Japanese rider has been in dominant form all weekend and, with his compatriot and solitary title rival Harada qualifying back in sixth, he is in the ideal position to take victory and the title tomorrow. Katoh is joined on the front row by Spanish pair Fonsi Nieto and Alzamora in second and third place respectively, with Rolfo relegating De Puniet to the second row in fifth thanks to a last gap effort which secured fourth place. Melandri continued his recovery from a hand injury with eighth place on the grid, behind fellow Italian Locatelli in seventh.

Toni Elias was unable to improve on his provisional pole time in today´s final qualifying session, but fortunately for him neither were any of his rivals in the 125 class. Ui came closest to knocking the Spanish youngster off top spot but he fell 0.158 seconds short, whilst Poggiali was held up by heavy traffic on two fast laps right at the end of the session. The Championship leader, who would take the title with victory in tomorrow´s race should Elias finish third or lower, will start from eighth place on the grid. Pedrosa set an excellent late lap to make the front row for the first time in his fledgling career in fourth place behind Cecchinello in third.

500cc, 2001, Loris Capirossi

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