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Rossi blows away his rivals at Estoril

Rossi blows away his rivals at Estoril

Rossi blows away his rivals at Estoril

Five riders lapped under pole record time to ignite the Grande Premio Marlboro de Portugal in sunny but extremely blustery conditions at the Estoril circuit this afternoon. Valentino Rossi sealed provisional pole position on the Honda in a time of 1'39.391, holding off a stunning late challenge from Yamaha rider Olivier Jacque with a succession of fast laps at the end of the session. Team-mates Max Biaggi and Tohru Ukawa also made threatened Rossi in the dying seconds but could only manage the third and fourth quickest times respectively as the front row was separated by just 0.339 seconds.

Sete Gibernau had led the session at various intervals before dropping fractionally off the pace and losing his front row position. Fellow Spaniard Carlos Checa, who took pole position here last year, looks certain to challenge for the front positions tomorrow after setting consistently quick times throughout the session on the Yamaha and provisionally qualifying sixth ahead of Ducati rider Loris Capirossi. Jeremy McWilliams completes the second row after opting to qualify on the two-stroke Proton KR3.

Kenny Roberts enjoyed a positive session on the Suzuki, joining the third row in tenth place between fellow Americans Nicky Hayden and Colin Edwards, ninth and eleventh respectively. WCM rider Chris Burns crashed after just nine laps but both he and team-mate David De Gea have provisionally qualified for Sunday's race.

MotoGP, 2003, Grande Premio Marlboro de Portugal

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