Aprilia test rider Marcellino Lucchi repeated his feats of 1997 and 1999 to take pole for the Italian 250cc Grand Prix at Mugello.

The 43-year old local broke the 1min 54secs barrier to pip Frenchman Olivier Jacque to top spot, as Yamaha threatened to ruin the Aprilia party. Jacque later dropped to third as injured Chesterfield team-mate Shinya Nakano found time to take second, leaving just one other front row position for the 'home' team.

German Ralf Waldmann, pace-setter on Friday, looked on the ball at the start of the session, but faded to fourth as others found the improvements he lacked. Aprilia Germany team-mate Klaus Nohles almost stole the veteran's thunder, lying fifth overall under the dying minutes, and having to settle for a still impressive seventh.

Between the two Germans, Marco Melandri almost repeated his best qualifying position since graduating from the 125cc class over the winter, while Le Mans winner Tohru Ukawa kept himself in the frame for a second success of the season. Fellow Japanese Daijiro Katoh improved to eighth to start his first Italian GP on row two.

The three Britons in the field all performed respectably, with Jamie Robinson taking top honours in tenth place. Jay Vincent was 14th and Adrian Coates 17th when the flag came down.

A full report and times will appear shortly....

Leading grid positions - Mugello 250cc.

1. Marcellino Lucchi Aprilia 1min 53.986secs
2. Shinya Nakano Yamaha 1min 54.288secs
3. Olivier Jacques Yamaha 1min 54.323secs
4. Ralf Waldmann Aprilia

5. Marco Melandri Aprilia
6. Tohru Ukawa Honda
7. Klaus Nohles Aprilia
8. Daijiro Katoh Honda

10. Jamie Robinson Aprilia
14. Jay Vincent Aprilia
17. Adrian Coates Aprilia