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Rossi holds off Capirossi charge at Welkom

Rossi holds off Capirossi charge at Welkom

Rossi holds off Capirossi charge at Welkom

Valentino Rossi today overcame intense pressure from Loris Capirossi to take provisional pole position for the Arnette Africa´s Grand Prix and block another astounding achievement for the Ducati Desmosedici. Rossi shook off the effects of cold symptoms and feverish temperatures to guide his Honda RC211V to a pole record time of 1´33.442, well over a second inside his own previous record here. His fastest lap came in the dying moments of the session after Capirossi had threatened to steal top spot with an effort of 1´33.586. Capirossi had no time to respond today, but must already be looking forward to his next opportunity in tomorrow´s final qualifying session.

Fausto Gresini arrived in South Africa after spending the past week in Japan with the family of Daijiro Kato, and will have been lifted to see his second rider Sete Gibernau ride strongly throughout the session and clock the third quickest time of the day. Gibernau was joined on the provisional front row by Troy Bayliss, who completed another page in the historic first chapter of the Ducati MotoGP adventure with the fourth quickest time of the day despite never having ridden here before.

Tohru Ukawa escaped injury in a nasty free practice crash this morning but was cleared fit to ride this afternoon, when he set the fifth fastest time to head the provisional second row ahead of Max Biaggi, Colin Edwards and Alex Barros. Edwards was lying in second place at the midway point of the practice but could not match the times of his Honda and Ducati rivals as the session reached an intense finale.

MotoGP, 2003, Arnette Africa's Grand Prix

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