MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX, SEPANG
Race Day, Sunday October 21 2001
A DIFFICULT DAY FOR THE MARLBORO YAMAHA MEN
Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa had another torrid day at stifling hot Sepang today, Biaggi crashing out and Checa coming home tenth in the penultimate round of the 2001 World Championship. The difficult conditions claimed a number of victims, while the race was won by recently crowned champ Valentino Rossi (Honda). "It's been a totally frustrating and disappointing day," said Marlboro Yamaha Team manager Geoff Crust. "We did a lot of testing here last winter but that didn't give us any advantage. Max's crash was one of those racing incidents, but it must've been very disappointing for him. We never quite got a set-up with Carlos, he had chatter all weekend. Now we've got a week to clear our heads before Rio, where our main goal will be to help Max keep hold of second place in the World Championship."
BIAGGI TUMBLES OUT
Max Biaggi was battling hard in the leading bunch when he tumbled out on lap four while trying to make a move on 2000 World Champion Kenny Roberts (Suzuki). The Marlboro Yamaha Team man ran up the inside of the American, making contact with the RGV and sending them both to the ground. Never one to give in easily, Biaggi tried to restart but his YZR had lost a handlebar. "I was coming through a little too fast," explained Biaggi, who had qualified third fastest for this race. "Kenny was going for his line and I ran into him. There's not much else to say except I'd like to give my apologies to Kenny." Neither rider was hurt in the incident and Biaggi will travel to Brazil next week to battle for second overall in this year's World Championship.
CHECA TAKES TENTH
Carlos Checa ended a difficult weekend at Sepang with a dogged tenth-place finish aboard his Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR500. The Spaniard had struggled to find a set-up throughout the two days of practice, his efforts not helped by early morning rain on both days, which effectively wiped out Friday's and Saturday's morning sessions. Starting from the fourth row, Checa ended the first lap in tenth place, slipped to 12th and spent the later stages of the race back in tenth. "I got a good start, that's all I could do," he said. "The bike was chattering and if it wasn't chattering it was jumping around. The problems would start every time I flicked into a turn and laid the bike on its side. We tried everything to try and get around the problem and it's hard to know what was wrong, perhaps the chatter was something to do with the engine spec we were running, I just don't know. It's been a frustrating weekend."
ROSSI WINS TENTH GP
One week after securing his first 500 World Championship, Valentino Rossi took his tenth win of the year in typically emphatic style, after an entertaining early stages tussle with Loris Capirossi (Honda) and Garry McCoy (Yamaha). "I've had bad luck here on both the 250 and 500, so I wanted to win," said the Italian. "I missed second gear away from the start, so the first lap was a nightmare. When I arrived behind Loris and Garry, it was hard to race with Garry because his style is so different, then I got ahead and put in four laps at a good rhythm. But the end was still tough, because the heat makes the tyres slide around so much, that's just the way you have to ride here."
Loris Capirossi took a strong second, just in front of Yamaha riders Garry McCoy and Shinya Nakano, to close to within four points of Max Biaggi with one race to go. "This was a very important race for me," said Capirossi who hit the front for a while on lap three. "I pushed very hard to get away but it was impossible because Valentino and Garry were riding so hard. I'm happy with second though."
<pre> RESULTS 1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Nastro Azzurro HONDA 44'46.652 2. Loris Capirossi (ITA) West HONDA Pons +3.551 3. Garry McCoy (AUS) Red Bull YAMAHA WCM +4.722 4. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Gauloises YAMAHA Tech 3 +5.005 5. Tohru Ukawa (JPN) Repsol YPF HONDA Team +8.807 6. Alex Criville (SPA) Repsol YPF HONDA Team +12.192 7. Alex Barros (BRA) West HONDA Pons +15.682 8. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Telefonica Movistar SUZUKI +18.772 9. Noriyuki Haga (JPN) Red Bull YAMAHA WCM +27.012 10. CARLOS CHECA (SPA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team +28.829
DNF - MAX BIAGGI (ITA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS 1. Valentino Rossi 300 2. MAX BIAGGI 203 3. Loris Capirossi 199 4. Alex Barros 169 5. Shinya Nakano 148 6. Norick Abe 127 7. CARLOS CHECA 117 8. Sete Gibernau 115 9. Alex Criville 111 10. Tohru Ukawa 107