AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX PHILLIP ISLAND
ROUND 16: 27th to 29th of October, 2000
REPSOL YPF HONDA MEN HOPE TO END ON A HIGH
The Australian Grand Prix is full of very good memories for the Repsol YPF Honda team. It was here, two years ago, that Mick Doohan clinched his fifth 500cc world title. Last year, Tadayuki Okada won the race, thereby taking his third win of the 1999 season. But this year has been a lot harder on the team. Technical difficulties have prevented 1999 world champion Alex Crivillé from effectively defending his crown. His team-mates Sete Gibernau and Tadayuki Okada have also suffered from similar woes. All three Repsol YPF Honda are therefore eager to end the season on a high.
So the last Grand Prix of the year should be pretty intense. Crivillé sees it as the perfect way to prepare a more successful 2001 season. "I've got both good and bad memories of the Island," he says. "I've won there but I've also had some tough races. The track is a complex one. You've got high speed corners and a technical layout, but I like it and enjoy riding there. The weather might give us some trouble. It's spring in Australia right now so you never know. But this is the last round of the season and I'd really like to end it with a good result. Our work won't end when the chequered flag comes out at Phillip Island, though. We'll be staying a few extra days to prepare for the next season. I'm really looking forward to starting this work and being able to focus on the bike's development for next year."
Crivillé's optimism and desire to look to a brighter future is shared by his team-mates of course. Okada can only base himself on what he was able to achieve last year. "I won at Phillip Island last year so it seems logical to hope for more of the same for this year," he admits. "But I know it will be very difficult. There's still so much work I'd like to do on the bike but we'll be trying our very best."
Sete Gibernau also regrets having had to go through such a difficult season and is hoping to put all that behind him with a last-minute encounter with success. "Phillip Island is a very technical and demanding race track," he points out. "There are some very complicated corners there. But this being the last race of the year, I'd like to be able to give my team a good result. They've worked so hard, even though things haven't gone according to plan this year. Last year, I made a wrong tyre choice and still managed to finish the Australian Grand Prix in sixth position. This year, I hope to get everything right and climb higher up the results table."
Starting grid in 1999: 1. K. Roberts 1'32.319 2. T. Harada 1'33.080 3. R. Laconi 1'33.177 4. A. Barros 1'33.229 5. M. Biaggi 1'33.274 6. S. Gibernau 1'33.333 7. T. Okada 1'33.417 8. N. Abe 1'33.452 9. J. Borja 1'33.498 10. C. Checa 1'33.511 11. N. Aoki 1'33.623 12. A. Crivillé 1'33.757 13. A. Gobert 1'33.911 14. J. Kocinski 1'33.914 15. G. McCoy 1'33.956 16. JL: Cardoso 1'33.962 17. H. Aoki 1'34.569 18. J. Vd. Goorbergh 1'34.738 19. M. Hale 1'34.750 20. S. Gimbert 1'35.721
Race results in 1999: 1 T. Okada 42'09.271 2 M. Biaggi 42'09.356 3 R. Laconi 42'09.395 4 C. Checa 42'18.768 5 A. Crivillé 42'19.082 6 S. Gibernau 42'19.962 7 G. McCoy 42'21.406 8 N. Aoki 42'34.299 9 J. Kocinski 42'34.490 10 K. Roberts 42'50.923 11 H. Aoki 42'56.899 12 J. vd Goorbergh 42'56.941 13 D. de Gea 43'32.268 14 S. Martin 43'32.576 15 M. Willis 43'45.251
Not Classified T. Harada 36'18.846 A. Barros 37'38.212
Pole position in 1999: K. Roberts 1'32.319 Fastest lap in 1999: K. Roberts 1'32.743 Circuit Record Lap 1998: S. Crafar 1'33.868
Length: 4.448 metres Race distance: 120.096 kms.
World championship standings after Motegi Pos. Rider Points 1 K. Roberts 249 2 V. Rossi 193 3 C. Checa 155 4 G. McCoy 150 5 A. Barros 150 6 M. Biaggi 145 7 N. Abe 137 8 L. Capirossi 134 9 A. Crivillé 122 10 N. Aoki 110 11 R. Laconi 101 12 T. Okada 100 13 J. vd. Goorbergh 81 14 S. Gibernau 72 15 J. McWilliams 68 16 T. Harada 36 17 D. de Gea 23