Marlboro Yamaha Team Catalunyan GP race report

Marlboro Catalan Grand Prix, Catalunya Race Day, Sunday June 17 2001 Marlboro Yamaha On The Podium At Catalunya Marlboro Yamaha Team rider Max Biaggi came home a brilliant second in today' s thrilling Marlboro Catalan GP, continuing a strong...

Marlboro Catalan Grand Prix, Catalunya
Race Day, Sunday June 17 2001

Marlboro Yamaha On The Podium At Catalunya

Marlboro Yamaha Team rider Max Biaggi came home a brilliant second in today' s thrilling Marlboro Catalan GP, continuing a strong run of results aboard his factory YZR500. Team-mate Carlos Checa had a less rewarding day, riding around set-up troubles to cross the line eighth. The race was close and fraught, with several crashes as the pack jostled for position, Valentino Rossi (Honda) coming out the winner.

"It was a bit of a strange race, with everyone bunching up and some slower-than-usual lap times for a while," said Marlboro Yamaha Team manager Geoff Crust. "A lot of the guys had chosen different tyres and no one was really sure whether they'd made the correct choice, so they were all waiting. Then it started getting interesting and Max made a really good charge, it was great to watch him coming through, but he didn't have enough time to make a push on Rossi. Carlos has had a difficult weekend, he's been trying to work around a few problems and the bike wasn't what he wanted for the race. But he rode sensibly and got a good few points, so we'll put this behind us and move on to Assen. Both the guys can go great there, we're really looking forward to it."

BIAGGI CHARGES THROUGH TO SECOND

Max Biaggi rode a great race at Catalunya this afternoon, recovering from a frantic first lap to chase home Valentino Rossi. The Marlboro Yamaha Team star completed the first lap down in eighth, then steadily picked his way through to move into second with six laps remaining. He ended the race just 2.579 seconds down on Rossi, with Loris Capirossi (Honda) making it an all-Italian podium, seven tenths adrift of Biaggi, the strongest-scoring rider of the past three races.

"I had a bad start and everyone was bumping into each other on the first lap, but it was a big race," said Biaggi, who had qualified third quickest. "I didn't sleep well last night because I was thinking so much about tyre choice, then the tyre we tried in warm-up wasn't good, so I went for a harder rear. It started sliding after ten laps or so, but I kept working my way up. Ukawa was difficult to pass, that took a while, then I had a good fight for second with Capirossi. Over the last five laps I pushed hard to see if I could do it but the gap wasn't really coming down, so I settled for second. I'm happy with the race and a big thank you to the team, they did a great job here."

CHECA SLOWED BY CHATTER

Carlos Checa and his crew spent most of this weekend working their way around chatter problems but the Marlboro Yamaha Team man didn't have an easy ride today. Chatter - a hard-to-cure high-speed vibration at the tyre contact patch - makes it difficult to maintain good speed through the turns. Checa did his best to ride around the problem today, gaining a valuable eight World Championship points for eighth.

"When you can't go through a corner at 100 per cent of your chosen speed, it's very difficult to ride fast," he explained. "It was impossible to keep the bike on line through the corners, the chatter was that bad, but things did get a little better as the fuel load lightened later in the race. I tried modifying my lines and worked to put more weight on the rear, and that was a little better. Eighth isn't the kind of result I want, but we had problems here and we'll make sure we don't at Assen."

ROSSI WINS TO EXTEND LEAD

Valentino Rossi today won his first race in six weeks, coming back from a tangled first lap to dominate from half-distance. He now leads Biaggi by 26 points with six races done, ten to go. "The first corner was terrible - Gibernau ran wide into Criville and Criville ran into me," said Rossi, who crashed out of the Italian GP two weeks ago. "It was very exciting after that but I got into a good rhythm and had a good set-up with the right tyres, so I just pushed and kept pushing until the end. After my crash at Mugello, I really needed this result."

FOUR-STROKE FEVER HITS CATALUNYA

The race towards next year's new-look World Championship, which will pit big-bore four-strokes against the 500s, was a major talking point today when Yamaha became the first marque to run one of the new four-stroke GP bikes in public, Norihiko Fujiwara riding two demo laps aboard the 200bhp-plus YZR-M1. And last night Honda unveiled its 990cc RCV V5 motor for the first time in Europe, while Suzuki announced plans to build a V4 four-stroke, codenamed the XREO. <pre> RESULTS 1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Nastro Azzurro HONDA 44'57.142 2. MAX BIAGGI (ITA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team + 2.579 3. Loris Capirossi (ITA) West HONDA Pons + 3.216 4. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Gauloises YAMAHA Tech 3 + 3.257 5. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Telefonica Movistar SUZUKI + 3.989 6. Norick Abe (JPN) Antena 3 YAMAHA d'Antin + 4.705 7. Tohru Ukawa (JPN) Repsol YPF HONDA Team + 4.769 8. CARLOS CHECA (SPA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team + 13.459 9. Jurgen vd Goorbergh (NED) Proton Team KR + 13.903 10. Noriyuki Haga (JPN) Red Bull YAMAHA WCM + 19.616

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS 1. Valentino Rossi 116 2. MAX BIAGGI 90 3. Loris Capirossi 81 4. Norick Abe 74 5. Shinya Nakano 63 6. Alex Criville 62 7. Alex Barros 60 8. Tohru Ukawa 45 9. Sete Gibernau 40 10. Kenny Roberts 37 11. CARLOS CHECA 36

-MYT-

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