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Fonsi Nieto snatches last gasp pole from Melandri

Fonsi Nieto snatches last gasp pole from Melandri

Fonsi Nieto snatches last gasp pole from Melandri

Fonsi Nieto showed once again that he is a pole specialist as he snatched top spot on the Motegi grid from Marco Melandri with a late fast lap this afternoon. The Italian looked a safe bet to consolidate his provisional pole despite being threatened by Frenchman Randy de Puniet throughout the session, but Nieto sprang from third to first with a time of 1´52.389 as the chequered flag was waved.

Nieto had suffered on the first day with a mystery illness but began to recover positions as his team ploughed through vital set-up work on Saturday, eventually edging out Melandri by one tenth of a second. De Puniet settled for third place and was joined on the front row by the customary Japanese wildcard surprise, 18 year old Yuki Takahashi.

Toni Elías was one of only three riders who failed to improve their provisional times, dropping from his provisional front row position to fifth on the definitive grid. The Spaniard is joined on the second row by Yamaha rider Sebastian Porto and the Honda pairing of Emilio Alzamora and Roby Rolfo.

Tags:
250cc, 2002

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