Randy de Puniet took a decisive provisional pole position for Sunday's 250cc Valencia Grand Prix, but all eyes were on the title showdown between Manuel Poggiali and Roberto Rolfo, day one of which ended in the San Marinese rider's favour.

The 45-minute session began with Frenchmen Sylvain Guintoli setting the pace, before countryman de Puniet, then Guintoli's Campetella Aprilia team-mate Franco Battaini, took the top spot from him.

But, by the midway point, Guintoli surprised by fighting back to take a solid 0.8secs lead over Battaini and de Puniet into the last 20-minutes, while in terms of the Poggiali/Rolfo title fight, it was Aprilia mounted Manuel who was on top - holding fourth position (+1.4secs to Guintoli), 0.6secs ahead of then seventh placed Honda rider Rolfo.

Back up front and Guintoli would hold station all the way until the final 45secs when de Puniet rocketed 0.8secs clear on his yellow-and-black LCR machine - an advantage no-where could come near to matching in the time available.

In terms of the title, Poggiali drew first blood as he took an overnight fourth after lapping 1secs from pole pace, but an all important 0.5secs clear of seventh placed Rolfo.

Full times to follow...

1. de Puniet
2. Guintoli
3. Battaini
4. Poggiali
5. Debon
6. Elias
7. Rolfo
8. West



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