Motorcycling: Schwantz fit to race

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KEVIN SCHWANTZ, the world 500cc champion hampered by a broken hand, was declared fit for today's Dutch Grand Prix despite a modest performance in the final qualifying session yesterday. 'He will take part . . . the hand is fine,' a spokeswoman for his Suzuki team said.

Schwantz, a three-times winner at Assen, including last year, ended the practice sessions in fourth place, more than a second behind the world championship leader, Mick Doohan, of Australia, who secured pole position. The Honda rider, Alberto Puig, of Spain, qualified in second place, followed by Schwantz's Suzuki team-mate, Alexandre Barros of Brazil.

Schwantz, second in the championship with 108 points behind Doohan on 136, took a tumble during the first official practice on Thursday. Doctors, who diagnosed a small fracture and a dislocated thumb, placed Schwantz's hand in plaster and ordered him to rest for a day. Suzuki mechanics then created a special handlebar grip to help the American gain a good hold on his machine.