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Italian trio under pole record at Assen

Italian trio under pole record at Assen

Italian trio under pole record at Assen

The continuing rivalry between Valentino Rossi, Max Biaggi and Loris Capirossi ensured all three riders dipped under pole record time in sunny conditions on the first day of qualifying for the Gauloises Dutch TT at Assen today. Rossi dominated the session from start to finish, as he had done in the free practice this morning, but it took a last lap effort to ensure provisional pole position as first Ducati rider Capirossi and then fellow Honda man Biaggi moved in.

Rossi´s time of 2´00.496 was almost half a second quicker than the previous record, which the World Champion set here one year ago, and it needed to be as Biaggi clocked 2´00.677 at the chequered flag. Alex Barros continued with the steady progression of both his personal fitness levels and the technical capabilities of his Yamaha with as he clinched the remaining front row slot in fourth.

Colin Edwards, who won both WSB races here on his way to the title in 2002, was impressive throughout the day on his Aprilia and, despite some technical problems in the final session, he qualified fifth fastest – just over a second off the pace of pole setter Rossi. Yamaha duo Carlos Checa and Olivier Jacque took sixth and seventh place respectively, whilst Tohru Ukawa completes the second row on the Honda.

It was an explosive session for all the wrong reasons for Proton Team KR and Nobuatsu Aoki, as their fledgling V5 prototype burst into flames with the Japanese rider speeding down the start-finish straight. Fortunately Aoki was able to halt the machine in the grass at the end of the straight, allowing the Dutch marshals to move in quickly and extinguish the fire.

MotoGP, 2003, Gauloises Dutch TT

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