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Capirossi sets pole record as Italians stamp authority on Portugal

Capirossi sets pole record as Italians stamp authority on Portugal

Capirossi sets pole record as Italians stamp authority on Portugal

Loris Capirossi set his third pole position on the Ducati Desmosedici in perfect conditions at the Estoril circuit this afternoon as Italian supremacy once again shone through in the MotoGP World Championship. After a hugely entertaining session which saw Sete Gibernau, Olivier Jacque and Shinya Nakano all mount strong challenges for the front slot on the grid, it was the Latin trio of Capirossi, Max Biaggi and Valentino Rossi who stamped their authority on the final qualifying session and swept the front three positions on the grid for tomorrow's race.

Gibernau was forced to settle for a front row start in fourth place, despite improving his time on his second machine after first crashing and then running into the gravel as he pushed to improve his rhythm. After setting the second fastest time yesterday, Olivier Jacque was baulked by a slower rider in the final two sections of a last gasp lap which had him on course to snatch pole position from Capirossi. However, the Frenchman equalled his best ever grid position on the Yamaha M1 with fifth place, just ahead of former team-mate Shinya Nakano. The pair are joined on the second row by factory colleague Carlos Checa and the second Ducati ridden by Troy Bayliss.

Tohru Ukawa was one of the major victims of the improved pace today, dropping from the front row to the third, where he is joined by Makoto Tamada, Marco Melandri and Alex Barros. Further down the order, Spanish rider David De Gea will pilot the WCM four-stroke on its race debut starting from 22nd on the grid, ahead of Grand Prix winners Garry McCoy and Nobuatsu Aoki.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2003, Grande Premio Marlboro de Portugal

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