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Rossi snatches pole at Mugello

Rossi snatches pole at Mugello

Rossi snatches pole at Mugello

Valentino Rossi took revenge on Italian rival Loris Capirossi today, snatching pole position for the Gran Premio Cinzano d´Italia with a last gasp lap which eclipsed an almost identical effort from his compatriot yesterday. Searing temperatures touching 33ºC meant that several riders struggled to improve their efforts from the first official session on Friday, with provisional pole setter Capirossi unable to get within four tenths of his previous best. It seemed as though there would be a three way Italian battle for pole as Rossi, Capirossi and Max Biaggi all mounted late attempts, but Rossi´s Honda was half a second up on his rivals after half a lap and despite some problems in the final few corners he did enough to edge out the Ducati rider by 0.027 seconds.

Capirossi was also outdone by his own team-mate Troy Bayliss, who today clocked the fastest ever top speed recorded by a MotoGP machine. Bayliss reached 331.1km/h on the Ducati Desmosedici to move into `pole position´ for the All Time Speed Record presented by Gericom, who have promised a high powered laptop to any rider who sets a new record by the end of each Grand Prix. However, Capirossi did resist the pressure from Biaggi and held firm in second place, whilst Shinya Nakano sprung a surprise attack to sneak onto the front row in third. The Japanese rider, who has consistently improved his times throughout the weekend, relegated Biaggi to fourth, sealing his first front row start aboard the Yamaha M1.

With just over half a second covering the top ten, it was a close battle for the front two rows but factory Honda pair Tohru Ukawa and Sete Gibernau sealed fifth and sixth place ahead of Yamaha duo Carlos Checa and Olivier Jacque. The Frenchman relegated team-mate Alex Barros to the third row, where he is joined by Makoto Tamada, Troy Bayliss and Marco Melandri. The Proton V5 machines make their race debuts tomorrow starting from 19th and 23rd place on the grid, at the hands of Jeremy McWilliams and Nobuatsu Aoki respectively.

MotoGP, 2003, Gran Premio Cinzano d'Italia

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