Motorcycling: Doohan has fourth title in his sights

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The Independent Online
With Michael Doohan at the head of the procession a festival atmosphere is anticipated at tomorrow's British Grand Prix at Donington, where the Australian is expected to secure his fourth 500cc world title in a row.

Doohan, who needs only to finish in the top six to win the championship, delivered all the signs yesterday that victory should be a formality. His 1min 33.579sec was fastest in the opening qualifying session, well ahead of the Italian Doriano Romboni's Aprilia in 1:33.807. An eighth consecutive pole position appears a firm bet.

Yet Doohan, ever the perfectionist, was unhappy. Unhappy about a circuit that may ensure a slow race tomorrow, he said: "There is no grip. Things are just not all that good out there, although I must say that it seems to be better for me than some of the other guys."

France's Jean-Michel Bayle, riding the British-built Modenas, was fifth fastest after crashing in the morning's open practice session, when he was third fastest.

Local interest lies with the 250cc riders Jeremy McWilliams and the luckless Jamie Robinson. The former is pushing hard for a works ride next season while the 21-year-old Robinson is hoping he can turn around a troubled season on the underpowered Team Molenaar Suzuki in front of a British crowd.

Qualifying times, Digest, page 23

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