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Roberts (500) and Jacque (250) on Pole in Rio

American Kenny Roberts (Suzuki) took his fourth pole position of the year for Rio de Janeiro’s Grand Prix on Sunday. Qualifying was tight, with the first twelve riders all within one second of one another.

Filling out the front row of the grid are Sete Gibernau (Honda), Alex Barros (Honda) and Carlos Checa (Yamaha). Points leader Alex Criville qualified eleventh – but he need only finish in the top ten tomorrow to take the championship one round early.

An interesting side note concerns Anthony Gobert, who was relatively quick all weekend. In fact, although he qualified 8th (on the outside of the second row), he was much higher earlier in qualifying (as high as fourth fastest).

The 250 race will find Olivier Jacque (Yamaha) on pole, with Valentino Rossi (Aprilia) Shinya Nakano (Yamaha) and Loris Capirossi (Honda) the remaining front row riders.

500cc Qualifying Results (Top 10)

1. Kenny Roberts (Suzuki) 1’52.227
2. Sete Gibernau (Honda) 1’52.552
3. Alex Barros (Honda) 1’52.672
4. Carols Checa (Yamaha) 1’52.672
5. Tadayuki Okada (Honda) 1’52.790
6. Max Biaggi (Yamaha) 1’52.960
7. Jurgen vd Goorbergh (Muz Weber) 1’53.014
8. Anthony Gobert (Mu Weber) 1’53.101
9. Nobuatsu Aoki (Suzuki) 1’53.132
10. Garry McCoy (Yamaha) 1’53.165

250cc Qualifying Results (Two 10)

1. Olivier Jacque (Yamaha) 1’54.072
2. Valentino Rossi (Aprilia) 1’54.340
3. Shinya Nakano (Yamaha) 1’54.343
4. Loris Capirossi (Honda) 1’54.790
5. Sebastian Porto (Yamaha) 1’55.011
6. Jeremy McWilliams (Aprilia) 1’55.098
7. Franco Battaini (Aprilia) 1’55.159
8. Stefano Perugini (Honda) 1’55.237
9. Tohru Ukawa (Honda) 1’55.258
10. Ralf Waldman (Aprilia) 1’55.296