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Rossi lands Suzuka pole after thrilling final qualifying session
Valentino Rossi claimed the first pole position of the new MotoGP World Championship season after a session, which following an initial threat of rain, developed into a classic battle for first place in the final twenty minutes amongst a clutch of riders .
Loris Capirossi had maintained his grip on pole position until Carlos Checa finally displaced him with twenty-two minutes remaining. Yamaha team-mate Max Biaggi then took top spot with a quarter of an hour left, but his joy was short-lived as Rossi launched an inevitable attack on first place. With just ninety seconds of the session remaining Capirossi had managed a final push to recapture pole, but Rossi had saved his best for last, and on his final lap he stormed to the top of time charts, overcoming his compatriot by just over a tenth of a second. Behind the two Italians Itoh,Checa, Biaggi, Katoh, Ryo and Jacque made up the top eight, with under a tenth of a second separating second and fifth.
Pere Riba did not take part in the session due to the injury he sustained yesterday and Garry McCoy suffered a spectacular fall although without serious consequences.
19 years ago
19 years ago