Valentino Rossi has continued his dominance at the Welkom GP by taking the provisional pole at the end of the first qualifying session.
The factory Honda rider – who was wearing a black armband in memory of Daijiro Kato - upped his pace by almost a second from this morning’s practice session to finish with a fastest time of 1:33.442, 1.4 seconds under the lap record, set by Tohru Ukawa last year.
Loris Capirossi continued his strong pace from the morning to take his Desmosedici to just 0.144 seconds behind Rossi.
Sete Gibernau was third fastest on the Telefonica Movistar Honda with Ducati rider Troy Bayliss finishing the provisional front row with a time of 1:34.322.
Max Biaggi didn’t improve on his morning pace and finished in sixth with a time of 1:34.364. But team-mate Tohru Ukawa shaved off 1.5 seconds to finish just ahead of Biaggi in fifth with a time of 1:34.334.
Despite improving his time by more than a second Team KR Proton rider Jeremy McWilliams slipped from this morning’s fifth place down to a provisional 10th on the grid.
Check back tomorrow for a full report on Saturday’s qualifying session at Welkom and the latest on World Superbikes in Sugo, Japan.