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Capirossi (500) and Katoh (250) on Pole for Suzuka GP

The opening round of the GP World Roadracing championship finds 500cc rider Loris Capirossi (Honda) on pole with a devastatingly quick lap (nearly two seconds quicker than the prior lap record, and roughly half a second quicker than the next fastest qualifier). The front row will be filled out by the Honda of Shinya Nakano and the Yamahas of Max Biaggi and Garry McCoy. Yamaha’s Noriyuki Haga crashed halfway through the final qualifying session, and will start from the third row with defending champion Kenny Roberts, Jr. (Suzuki).

In the 250 class, Honda rider Daijiro Katoh took pole in a convincing fashion ahead of second-quickest Marco Melandri (Aprilia). Melandri was injured (separated shoulder), however, in the final qualifying session and will not race tomorrow.