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Pedrosa takes first quarter-litre pole

 Pedrosa takes first quarter-litre pole

Pedrosa takes first quarter-litre pole

Honda's 250cc rookie Dani Pedrosa took his first pole position in the quarter-litre class after a spectacular battle for top spot with Aprilia rivals Randy De Puniet and Sebastian Porto. All three riders were held up by traffic in the final push for times and, when provisional pole holder Porto lost control of his machine as he tried to pick his way through the crowd, it was left to the Spaniard and the Frenchman to fight it out for top spot, with Pedrosa edging ahead by 0.284 seconds with a pole record time of 1'37.123 on his penultimate lap.

Porto was uninjured in his crash and will start tomorrow's race from third place, and is joined on the front row of the grid by World Champion Manuel Poggiali, who also crashed his factory Aprilia in the closing stages of the practice.

Toni Elias' push to make the front row for the first time this season fell short by over half a second as he qualified fifth fastest behind Poggiali. Elias is joined on the second row by Franco Battaini, Fonsi Nieto and Roberto Rolfo, who escaped disaster when he was hit from behind midway through the session by Hiroshi Aoyama.

The Japanese 250cc Champion wasn't quite so lucky as he tumbled from his Honda, although he recovered to qualify ninth fastest and head up the fourth row from Alex De Angelis, Sylvain Guintoli and Anthony West.

Max Sabbatani did not take part in today's session after fracturing his ankle yesterday and is ruled out of tomorrow's race.


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