Motorcycling: Doohan back in business

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The Independent Online
MICHAEL DOOHAN, the defending world champion, staked his claim for pole position during yesterday's first qualifying session for the Italian Grand Prix.

The Australian, looking to reestablish his dominance after an unusually slow start to the season on his Honda, recorded a lap of 1min 53.711sec to edge Spain's Alex Criville by 0.5sec. America's John Kocinski and Brazil's Alex Barros completed a top-four finish by Hondas.

Max Biaggi's best lap of 1:55.227 only took him up to seventh. Biaggi, a four-time world 250cc champion who is making his debut in the grand prix class this season, had got off to a sensational start, riding his Honda to one victory, a second and a third place to lead Doohan by 12 points in the standings.