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Rossi establishes early dominance at Estoril

Rossi establishes early dominance at Estoril

Rossi establishes early dominance at Estoril

Valentino Rossi took provisional pole position for the Grande Premio Marlboro de Estoril today, smashing Loris Capirossi's previous pole record by almost half a second to clock 1'38.036 on his first visit to the Portuguese track riding the Yamaha.

With cool and cloudy conditions in the morning making way for bright blue skies and warm sunshine in the afternoon, Rossi was able to swiftly find a dry set-up for the M1 and used it to fight off the challenge of four Honda riders, who all lapped inside Capirossi's previous benchmark of 1'38.412.

Sete Gibernau was the closest of the chasers, lapping within just 0.031 seconds of his title rival, whilst Alex Barros completes the front row in third place after setting the pace for much of the session and clocking the fastest time in the morning free practice despite crashing.

Makoto Tamada heads up the provisional second row from team-mate Max Biaggi, whilst Marco Melandri was the next quickest Yamaha behind Rossi, qualifying in sixth place.

With Nicky Hayden out of action due to the broken collarbone injury sustained in a supermoto crash last weekend, Colin Edwards was the final Honda, qualifying seventh fastest to confirm the Japanese factory's traditional strength at the Portuguese track.

John Hopkins continued his impressive run of form on the Suzuki with the eighth fastest time whilst Capirossi, who started from the front of the grid here one year ago, completes the provisional third row in ninth place on the Ducati.

Elsewhere, Michel Fabrizio made an impressive debut on the Aprilia, out-qualifying his new team-mate Jeremy McWilliams and lapping just 2.550 seconds slower than Rossi.


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