Biaggi rules Brno with new Michelin front. Yamaha man dominates Czech GP from pole position ahead of four-stroke first-timer Kato. Max Biaggi (Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) scored Yamaha's first win of the new MotoGP four-stroke era at...
Biaggi rules Brno with new Michelin front.
Yamaha man dominates Czech GP from pole position ahead of four-stroke first-timer Kato.
Max Biaggi (Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) scored Yamaha's first win of the new MotoGP four-stroke era at Brno this afternoon, leading all the way from pole position to chequered flag. The Italian used Michelin's new front slick to dominate the race, crossing the line comfortably ahead of Daijiro Kato (Fortuna Honda Gresini RC211V-Michelin) and Tohru Ukawa (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin). Michelin riders filled the first six positions, all these men bettering last year's Brno race-winning time, and ten of the first 11 finishers used Michelin tyres.
Biaggi's pace through the 22-lap race was stunningly fast, his winning time an amazing 24.5 seconds inside the existing Brno race record. And Kato, enjoying his first four-stroke GP ride, smashed the lap record by almost eight tenths of a second.
The only man who didn't last the distance at this pace was World Championship leader Valentino Rossi (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin), who harried Biaggi until he encountered a tyre problem with seven laps to go. A strip of rubber came away from the centre of Rossi's rear slick, smashing the RCV's carbon-fibre wheel 'hugger' as it came away. The youngster pitted for a new tyre but withdrew from the race when he realised he wouldn't score points.
"Max rode a great race and it's nice to see him get his first win of the year," said Nicolas Goubert, Michelin's chief of motorcycle sport. "Like most of our riders he used our new front. This tyre gives more feel to allow riders to exploit more ofthe available grip. It also offers better 'brake-on' performance as riders enter corners.
"What happened to Valentino is very weird, this kind of thing is a very rare occurrence for us and we've never had anything like it at Brno, which isn't a demanding track for tyres. It was a very fast race but other riders used the same tyrewithout problems, so now we have to analyse with Honda to see what happened to this tyre."
Biaggi was delighted with his first four-stroke success, achieved after a year of intensive development with Yamaha. "This victory means a lot to me, I gave everything I could," he said after his seventh Brno win in nine years. "That kind of raceis very tough, tyre choice is very difficult, so is bike set-up, and then you have to ride to look after the tyres. I rode hard from the start and my pit board told me just how close Rossi was. I was getting signals '+0.1', +0.2', +0.0', so they would've overtaken me even if I'd made the tiniest mistake. So I stayed calm and used my brain to choose the right lines and save my tyres."
Kato, who only had his first serious ride on an RCV during Friday practice, ran with Biaggi and Rossi, slipping back slightly in the late stages to cross the line 2.755 seconds down on the winner. "I still have a lot to learn about this machine andhow it uses the tyres," said the Japanese. "I was working to save the tyres in the later stages and I'm very happy with second."
Ukawa's ride to third was nothing less than heroic, following a nasty crash in morning warm-up when he got a false neutral. "I had some pain in the race, so it was difficult to stay concentrated," he said.
Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Suzuki GSV-R-Michelin) scored his best result of the year, riding an aggressive race to come through from ninth on lap one to fourth, two seconds ahead of Carlos Checa (Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin). LorisCapirossi (West Honda Pons NSR500-Michelin) was top two-stroke finisher in his comeback ride from injury, taking a strong sixth-place finish even though his broken right wrist isn't 100 per cent.