Australian GP Early Qualifying

| April 13, 2001

Perfect weather (sun, little wind and warm afternoon temperatures) for the first day of the Australian MX Grand Prix, round three of the season, held in Broadford (Victoria State).

American Scott Sheak (UFO Honda) surprised everyone, getting the first pole position of his GP career and beating three-time World Champion Alessio Chiodi (Skittles Yamaha), and Belgian Steve Ramon (Kawasaki), along with current 125cc points leader James Dobb (KTM). Each of the riders posted his fastest lap in the last minutes of the session, as the track became dryer than after the mid-day watering. The results of this qualification will give the positions for the 125cc qualifying races, as the Saturday 125cc session is now considered as just a practice. Injured in the Netherlands, Norwegian Kenneth Gundersen didn’t came to Australia due to a thumb surgery, but he will be back in Belgium.

Once more, Mickael Pichon (Corona Suzuki) was the fastest man in the 250cc class, beating German Pit Beirer (Yamaha) and Frenchman Yves Demaria (Free Time Yamaha), always fast in the non-European GPs. Only 18th in the results, World Champion Frederic Bolley (UFO Honda) seemed to have persistent troubles with his bike settings, and he is more than four seconds slower than Pichon. Darryl King (Yamaha) was the fastest “wild card” rider (non-GP-regular) with a good 11th position, while Kawasaki-mounted Aussie Michael Byrne (formerly of the now-defunct American Kawasaki team) finished 23rd.

Joel Smets (KTM) won the battle for the pole in the 500cc class, beating Stefan Everts (L&M Yamaha), who had the pole after 30 minutes. Winner last year on this track, Smets was really impressive, improving upon even the performance of Pichon. Shayne King (KTM) got a very good third position after disappointing results in the first two GPs, followed by Spaniard Garcia Vico (KTM) and Swede Johnny Lindhe (Husqvarna). Still suffering from his elbow injury Peter Johansson (KTM) is not racing this GP; he will be back racing next weekend in the Swedish Championship.

Qualifying Results (1st day)

125: 1.Sheak (USA,Honda), 2’09’’038; 2.Chiodi (ITA,Yamaha), 2’09’’183; 3.Ramon (BEL,Kawasaki), 2’09’’361; 4.Dobb (GBR,KTM), 2’09’’502; 5.Seguy (FRA,Yamaha), 2’09’’674; 6.Guidetty (FRA,HVA), 2’10’’401; 7.Belometti (ITA,Yamaha), 2’10’’622; 8.Breugelmans (BEL,Yamaha), 2’10’’847; 9.Stevanini (ITA,HVA), 2’10’’989; 10.Traversini (ITA,KTM), 2’11’’473.

250: 1.Pichon (FRA,Suzuki), 2’04’’345; 2.Beirer (GER,Yamaha), 2’05’’082; 3.Demaria (FRA,Yamaha), 2’05’’492; 4.Federici (ITA,Yamaha), 2’05’’861; 5.Dugmore (RSA,KTM), 2’06’’154; 6.Cooper (GBR,Yamaha), 2’06’’378; 7.Aubert (FRA,Yamaha), 2’06’’566; 8.Coppins (NZL,Suzuki), 2’06’’806; 9.Kovalainen (FIN,Yamaha), 2’06’’990; 10.Nunn (GBR,HVA), 2’07’’017.

500: 1.Smets (BEL,KTM), 2’04’’288; 2.Everts (BEL,Yamaha), 2’06’’156; 3.King Shane (NZL,KTM), 2’06’’933; 4.Garcia Vico (SPA,KTM), 2’07’’477; 5.Lindhe (SWE,HVA), 2’07’’680; 6.Bervoets (BEL,Yamaha), 2’07’’925; 7.Dini (ITA,Yamaha), 2’07’’955; 8.Aaltonen (FIN,Yamaha), 2’08’’175; 9.Mac Farlane (AUS,Yamaha), 2’08’’410; 10.Van Wessel (NED,Husaberg), 2’08’’474.

By Freelance