British Grand Prix, Donington Park
Race Day, Sunday July 8 2001

Marlboro Yamaha Men Second And Fifth At Donington

Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa finished a determined second and fifth in today's British GP, run in cool, overcast conditions before an enthusiastic crowd of 40,000 fans. The race marked the halfway point in this year's 500 World Championship, Biaggi coming home a close second to series leader Valentino Rossi (Honda).

" Max rode a good race but it seems like Rossi was too strong for us today," said Yamaha 500 GP project leader Masahiko Nakajima." Maybe our bike set-up wasn't quite good enough to stop Rossi. Max had lots of confidence on Friday but yesterday's weather changed everything and we were a little confused with our final settings. We've made good progress with Carlos over the past two or three races and he feels more confident on the bike and positive about the future."

The next round of the World Championship takes place on July 22 at Germany's Sachsenring, where all 165,000 tickets have been sold in advance.

BIAGGI TAKES SECOND IN BRITISH GP THRILLER

Max Biaggi took a hard-fought second place in today's tension-packed British GP. Once again the Marlboro Yamaha Team man was locked in battle with title rival Valentino Rossi (Honda) but while he defeated his fellow Italian last weekend, Biaggi had to be happy with second. Biaggi started the race from pole, followed World Champion Kenny Roberts (Suzuki) in the early laps before moving ahead mid-race. But Rossi assumed dominance at two-thirds distance, and, try as he might, Biaggi couldn't get close enough to counter attack. He ended the race 1.794 seconds behind the World Championship leader and goes into the second half of the series 26 points down.

" I did all I could, I tried 100 per cent," said Biaggi." I played my own game. My start wasn't so bad and Roberts had a good rhythm early on, but when he lost some speed I started to push, putting in some good, consistent laps. But then Barros closed the gap and Rossi was coming too, they were both running a very quick pace. When he overtook me it was difficult to stay with him, I was losing a little time at a few points around the track. It was quite hard but I did my best. Rossi started from 11th and won, so you can see the potential of him and his bike. It's a hard combination to beat."

CHECA'S BEST SINCE LE MANS

Carlos Checa rode a great race to fifth, running a fast pace aboard his Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR500. Eighth at the end of the first lap after his third-row start, the Spaniard came through in fine style to score his best result since May's French GP, where he was second behind team-mate Max Biaggi.

" We've had a few tough races which put us behind, but I feel we're making progress again," said Checa." Last week we made some important improvements to the bike and we improved the chassis here too. We tried some new settings for the warm-up which were great for the front but gave me some chatter at the rear, so we went back to yesterday's set-up for the race to be safe. I passed a few people early on but I wasn't taking risks, just going step by step. When Rossi came past I tried to follow him but the front folded really badly at one turn, I only saved a crash by keeping the bike up on my knee. I'm quite satisfied with the result, the team worked really well this weekend, now we need to maintain progress in Germany."

ROSSI WINS FROM THIRD ROW

Valentino Rossi got his revenge on Max Biaggi today, winning his second British GP in succession, a week after his Italian arch-rival had beaten him at Assen. Starting from the third row, following a high-speed fall in practice and some chassis set-up problems, Rossi was 11th on lap one and hit the front on lap 18.

" This was a very important win, maybe my best ever, because we had difficult times in practice, with Friday's crash and yesterday's rain," he said." My settings weren't good in the morning warm-up, so we checked the data and gambled on some changes. The bike was good, and to win from 11th is fantastic. I waited for a while, because it's difficult with a full tank, then the rear started spinning after about five laps. Things settled down after that and with a lighter tank I was able to start pushing."

BARROS BACK ON PODIUM

Alex Barros (Honda) was back on the podium for the first time since his Italian GP win in early June. The Brazilian looked good all race but never quite made the lead." I made a few mistakes," said Barros who attacked Biaggi over the final laps." After Valentino took the lead I made a mistake which cost me time. After that I got back up to Biaggi, and then made another mistake. Without that I think I could've got second." <pre> RESULTS 1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Nastro Azzurro HONDA 46'53.349 2. MAX BIAGGI (ITA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team +1.794 3. Alex Barros (BRA) West HONDA Pons +2.011 4. Noriyuki Haga (JPN) Red Bull YAMAHA WCM +7.610 5. CARLOS CHECA (SPA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team +12.526 6. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Gauloises YAMAHA Tech 3 +12.766 7. Alex Criville (SPA) Repsol YPF HONDA Team +16.225 8. Kenny Roberts (USA) Telefonica Movistar SUZUKI +16.699 9. Olivier Jacque (FRA) Gauloises YAMAHA Tech 3 +16.780 10. Loris Capirossi (ITA) West HONDA Pons +24.781

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS 1. Valentino Rossi 161 2. MAX BIAGGI 135 3. Loris Capirossi 103 4. Alex Barros 89 5. Shinya Nakano 84 6. Norick Abe 74 7. Alex Criville 71 8. Kenny Roberts 55 9. Sete Gibernau 54 11. CARLOS CHECA 47

-MYT-