MARLBORO YAMAHA SHINE IN DAZZLING GERMAN GP Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR-M1 riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa finished second and fourth in today's thrilling German GP, a non-stop rollercoaster of a ride around the ultra-tight Sachsenring. The...
MARLBORO YAMAHA SHINE IN DAZZLING GERMAN GP
Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR-M1 riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa finished second and fourth in today's thrilling German GP, a non-stop rollercoaster of a ride around the ultra-tight Sachsenring.
The leading eight-man pack ran nose to tail until three laps from the finish when two-stroke leaders Olivier Jacque (Yamaha) and Alex Barros (Honda) crashed, putting four-stroke men Valentino Rossi (Honda) and Max Biaggi out front. Biaggi rode a great race, fighting back from seventh in the early stages. Checa was right there throughout, crossing the line just 2.33 seconds behind the winner.
"I enjoyed that race very much, but first I'd just like to give my condolences to Olivier, he was very unlucky," said YZR-M1 project leader Ichiro Yoda who intends to use today's two-stroke versus four-stroke battle to further development of the M1. "Both our riders tried very hard and now we will analyze the data to study the difference between the two-stroke and the four-stroke, so that we can make more improvements to our bike. Now we have a month's break before the next race, but we will still be working hard in the run-up to Brno."
BIAGGI TAKES M1 SO CLOSE TO VICTORY
Watched by 78,000 noisy fans, Max Biaggi came within seven tenths of a second of scoring the YZR-M1's first victory today. The Marlboro Yamaha Team star was in typically determined form, gathering himself after a difficult first few laps to battle back and forth with Valentino Rossi, then contesting third place. When Alex Barros took out Olivier Jacque, the two Italians were promoted to first and second but Biaggi couldn't quite get back in front of Rossi on the final lap.
"I'm very, very satisfied with the result, a gift from poor Jacque and Barros," said Biaggi after his second successive runner-up finish. "I rode my own race, though the first few laps were difficult because I was struggling with the weight of the bike and a full tank of gas. Also, we changed the geometry after warm-up. I hadn't had a chance to test it, so it took me five or six laps to get used to the feeling, then I started pushing hard. I got McWilliams, Abe and Nakano, then caught up the front guys but it was tough to overtake. Who knows what would've happened if Jacque and Barros hadn't crashed? Yamaha and the team are working very hard and we're progressing well. Now I'm off on holiday - maybe ten days on a boat doing nothing, having fun with my girlfriend and friends."
CHECA TAKES A SUPER-CLOSE FOURTH
Carlos Checa had a frustrating race - fast as anyone out there but unable to get any closer to the front. Just 1.1 seconds behind the race leader at half distance, the Marlboro Yamaha Team man was just metres behind the winner at the finish. Around this track, the shortest in GP racing, the difference in lap times is tiny, so while Checa had the second-quickest average lap time in yesterday's final qualifier, he ended up on the third row, which put him tenth at the end of the first lap at a track around which overtaking is particularly difficult. He made headway in the race but couldn't get close enough to attack third-finisher Tohru Ukawa (Honda) at the finish.
"My start wasn't so bad, I passed a few guys and near the end I was thinking of trying to take Ukawa but the leaders raised their pace in the final laps, so I didn't get the chance," said the Spaniard. "All weekend we struggled to find a set-up that worked through the faster part of the track. I tried everything to be quicker through there, including adapting my riding style and body position, but I was always losing time through the fast downhill and uphill corners. Now we take a break from racing and I think we need it, everyone's been working so hard this year."
ROSSI GIFTED EIGHTH WIN
World Championship leader Valentino Rossi scored his eighth win of 2002, taking the lead for the second time when Alex Barros and Olivier Jacque crashed. Their lighter two-strokes had dominated most of the race at this tortuous circuit and for once it seemed Rossi wouldn't win, his RCV obviously detuned to make it more manageable on super-short gearing. "That was a great race for the fans," he smiled. "The two-strokes were faster in the first, tighter part of the track because they're lighter, but I could overtake in the faster downhill section at the end of the lap. This win was a bit of a gift but I still had to stay concentrated to beat Biaggi."
1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Repsol HONDA Team (RC211v) 43'32.783
2. MAX BIAGGI (ITA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team (YZR-M1) +0.730
3. Tohru Ukawa (JPN) Repsol HONDA Team (RC211v) +1.100
4. CARLOS CHECA (SPA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team (YZR-M1) +2.330
5. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Gauloises YAMAHA Tech 3 (YZR500) +2.743
6. Norick Abe (JPN) Antena 3 YAMAHA d'Antin (YZR500) +2.780
7. Jeremy McWilliams (GBR) PROTON Team KR (KR3) +15.438
8. Nobuatsu Aoki (JPN) PROTON Team KR +18.980
9. Garry McCoy (AUS) Red Bull YAMAHA WCM (YZR500) +19.269
10. Alex Hofmann (GER) West HONDA Pons (NSR500) +34.533
1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) 220
2. Tohru Ukawa (JPN) 124
3. MAX BIAGGI (ITA) 109
4. Alex Barros (BRA) 87
5. CARLOS CHECA (SPA) 85
6. Norick Abe (JPN) 82
7. Loris Capirossi (ITA) 65
8. Daijiro Kato (JPN) 60
9. Nobuatsu Aoki (JPN) 43
10. Olivier Jacque (FRA) 42