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Rossi reigns in Rio

Rossi reigns in Rio

It seemed for a while in the afternoon heat at the Nelson Piquet circuit today that Valentino Rossi, with his objectives for this season well and truly completed, was ready to relax slightly and take a back seat role in proceedings at the Cinzano Rio Grand Prix. The Honda rider spent much of the first qualifying session for the final race of the 2001 calendar some way off the tempo of pacesetter Kenny Roberts, but he came through with a fast lap to take provisional pole position after the chequered flag had been waved. Roberts, who was crowned World Champion here last year, had dominated throughout the session but was forced to settle for second place on the provisional grid ahead of Japanese riders Norick Abe and Shinya Nakano respectively.

Alex Barros did his best to provide early cheer for the home supporters and will be no means disappointed with the fifth best time of the day. The Brazilian favourite lines up at the front of a second row which also includes Carlos Checa, Loris Capirossi and Max Biaggi. Checa had fallen prior to setting his best time, whilst McCoy also tumbled into the gravel and was then only able to qualify back in twelfth.

500cc, 2001

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