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Fonsi sets new pole record to unsettle Melandri in Sepang

Fonsi sets new pole record to unsettle Melandri in Sepang

Fonsi sets new pole record to unsettle Melandri in Sepang

Fonsi Nieto became the third rider to set a new pole record at the Sepang circuit today, following in the footsteps of Alex Barros and Arnaud Vincent. The Spaniard took pole position in the 250 class after a thrilling battle with team-mate Toni Elías and series leader Marco Melandri. Elias had held his provisional pole position throughout the session and even improved it still further with just three minutes remaining, before a late flurry from the championship rivals. Melandri took half a second from Elias with one minute remaining before being edged out by Nieto with a time of 2´08.067 as the chequered flag was waved. Roberto Locatelli took the final front row place despite lapping 1.263 seconds slower than Nieto.

The second row was continually shuffled and when the dust settled it was Franco Battaini who took fifth spot ahead of Roby Rolfo, Randy De Puniet and Sebastian Porto. Tomorrow represents Melandri´s first mathematical opportunity to become World Champion, as he looks to maintain his 52-point advantage over Nieto at the half century mark or above going into the final two rounds.

Tags:
250cc, 2002, Gauloises Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix

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