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Barros sets the pace at Sepang

Barros sets the pace at Sepang

Barros sets the pace at Sepang

Alex Barros set the quickest time in the first free practice for the Marlboro Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, a session he dominated virtually from start to finish. The Brazilian clocked a best time of 2'03.602 to lap inside the circuit record, set during last year's race by Valentino Rossi.

Barros's pace was too much for Rossi this morning, with the Italian over half a second slower with the third fastest time of the session, Sete Gibernau just 0.038 seconds faster in second place. Makoto Tamada made it three Hondas in the top four whilst John Hopkins lived up to his promise of lapping consistently in the top five.

In the 250cc class, Sebastián Porto took the psychological advantage at the very end of the session with a fast lap which dislodged clear leader Dani Pedrosa. The Spanish youngster has to finish eight points clear of the Argentinean to secure the title here on Sunday, but Porto demonstrated that he is in no mood for charity.

Casey Stoner was the fastest man in a highly competitive 125cc session, fighting it out at the top with regular front runners Andrea Dovizioso, who could win the title this weekend, and Hector Barberá – the only man who can stop the Italian.


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