AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, PHILLIP ISLAND
Race Day, Sunday October 29 2000
BIAGGI SCORES STUNNING WIN FOR MARLBORO YAMAHA
Marlboro Yamaha Team star Max Biaggi won a breathtaking Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island today, winning a titanic battle with a leading pack of nine riders after starting from the third row. The Italian's second win of the year gives Yamaha the Constructors' World Championship, seven points ahead of Honda. The team's joy was tempered by a dismal day for Carlos Checa. The Spaniard led on the first lap but fell, remounted, then crashed again.
"A big thank you to Max for helping us win the constructors' title," beamed Yamaha YZR500 project leader Shuji Sakurada. "That was such an exciting race and it completed a great day for Yamaha, for we had already won the 250 riders' and constructors' title. I'm very happy, this result is a gift for all the hard work, but it's not our final goal, next year we want the Riders ' World Championship."
MIGHTY MAX WINS TO TAKE THIRD OVERALL
Today's season-closing Australian GP was undoubtedly the race of the year with a dozen riders in the leading group during the early stages and the first eight men crossing the finish line within four seconds. The man out front at the end of 27 spellbinding laps was Max Biaggi, who came through miraculously from a third-row start. The Marlboro Yamaha Team rider got ahead for the first time on lap 15, and after countless changes of lead, ended the race just 0.182 seconds ahead of Loris Capirossi (Honda). His fifth career 500 win moves him to third overall in the World Championship.
"That was a real race, win or lose, it was so exciting," said Biaggi, who started from row three after a Saturday afternoon fall ruined his push for a front-row start. "I got a not-so-bad start and everyone was fighting from the first turn. One lap you could cross the line in the lead, then next time fourth or fifth; the fast straight here means that it's easy to use the slipstream, so there was a lot of passing. There was also a lot of touching -- I touched Barros and Capirossi, and many times with McCoy. Near the finish it was just the three of us -- me, Capirossi and Rossi. Capirossi was very strong but it was my day. My thanks to the team and I'm happy Yamaha have won the constructors' title. It's important because we race for the factory but next time I want the riders' crown too. This race will give us a lot of enthusiasm for winter testing."
BAD DAY FOR CHECA
Marlboro Yamaha Team rider Carlos Checa had a miserable end to his 2000 season, tumbling out of the lead on the very first lap. The Spaniard had taken the lead a few corners before, sliding off at the slow-speed MG turn. He managed to keep his engine running and remounted to chase some points, only to crash a few laps later at the 200kmh turn one. He was unhurt but the DNF cost him a possible third place overall.
"I wasn't going into the turn fast, slower than normal, in fact, because it was the first lap," said a mystified Checa. "But as soon as I got off the brakes, the front went. I kept the clutch in and the engine running and got going again to pass as many people as I could. Then the same thing happened, the front went when I released the brake into turn one."
CAPIROSSI SO CLOSE IN SECOND
Apart from Max Biaggi, Loris Capirossi was the strongest rider out there, leading on a number of occasions, but losing out in the last couple of laps. "I tried very hard all the way and my bike and tyres were good to the end but the Yamaha was faster than my bike," he said. "Anyway, it was a fun race and I've enjoyed my return to 500s this year, though I got too many injuries and that broke my championship."
ROSSI COMPLETES ALL-ITALIAN PODIUM
Valentino Rossi (Honda) never quite led because he was waiting to pounce on the final lap. "Max and Capirossi were fighting so hard, so my plan was to attack on the last lap," said the former 250 champ who won this year's 500 rookie of the year crown. "But I didn't see the last lap board! The race was so close and I was alongside Barros as we started the final lap, so my view was obscured."
<pre> RACE CLASSIFICATION 1. MAX BIAGGI (ITA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team 42'29.792 2. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Emerson HONDA Pons +0.182 3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Nastro Azzurro HONDA +0.288 4. Alex Barros (BRA) Emerson HONDA Pons +0.426 5. Garry McCoy (AUS) Red Bull YAMAHA WCM +1.885 6. Norick Abe (JPN) Antena 3 YAMAHA d'Antin +3.818 7. Kenny Roberts (USA) Telefonica Movistar SUZUKI +3.846 8. Jeremy McWilliams (GBR) Blu APRILIA Team +3.878 9. Tadayuki Okada (JPN) Repsol YPF HONDA Team +4.308 10. Nobuatsu Aoki (JPN) Telefonica Movistar SUZUKI +12.582
CARLOS CHECA - Fell
FINAL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CLASSIFICATION 1. Roberts 258 2. Rossi 209 3. BIAGGI 170 4. Barros 163 5. McCoy 161 6. CHECA 155 7. Capirossi 154 8. Abe 147 9. Criville 122 10. Aoki 116
FINAL CONSTRUCTORS' CHAMPIONSHIP CLASSIFICATION 1. YAMAHA 318 2. Honda 311 3. Suzuki 264 4. Aprilia 94