MYT Portuguese GP report

Marlboro Yamaha Team duo Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa battled to fourth and 12th-place finishes in treacherous windy conditions at Estoril today. Confident of good results after strong showings in qualifying, the pair were disappointed with their...

Marlboro Yamaha Team duo Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa battled to fourth and 12th-place finishes in treacherous windy conditions at Estoril today. Confident of good results after strong showings in qualifying, the pair were disappointed with their performances in round 12 of this year's 500 World Championship. The race was won in fine style by wild-riding Australian Garry McCoy (Yamaha).

"Max and Carlos seemed to struggle with the wind and track conditions," explained Yamaha Grand Prix manager Masahiko Nakajima. "All through the weekend both of them were feeling good about their chassis set-ups but things were different today. Maybe it was the wind, maybe it was sand getting blown onto the track but conditions were very unpredictable. They both said their machines felt like different bikes today. It's not been a great day for the Marlboro Yamaha Team but my congratulations go to Garry."

DETERMINED BIAGGI JUST OUTSIDE TOP THREE

Marlboro Yamaha Team star Max Biaggi rode a determined race in tricky circumstances, missing out on a podium finish by just half a second. Seventh at the end of a hectic first lap, the Italian star made good progress forward, spending much of the race chasing the Hondas of Valentino Rossi and Sete Gibernau. Lining himself up for a late-race attack, Biaggi was lucky to stay on board when Gibernau crashed spectacularly, right in front of him. Unfazed by the scare, he kept up his attack on Rossi all the way to the flag.

"We had some carburation problems in warm-up, so we had to change some parts for the race," explained Biaggi. "It was a bit of a compromise, so I was a bit worried on the grid and it took me a while to get into a rhythm. I must' ve missed Gibernau by about 20cm, I had to shut the throttle and swerve, and that lost me time. The wind definitely affected the set-up but fourth place, close to the top three, isn't a disaster. Overall I think we're in good shape, I want to win again this year."

DISAPPOINTED CHECA FINISHES 12TH

The blustery, unpredictable conditions affected Marlboro Yamaha Team rider Carlos Checa more than most and the Spaniard's hopes of a strong finish to boost his title hopes were dashed by a difficult race. He started reasonably but soon found he didn't have the rear-end traction to force his way towards the front. Thirteenth for the first half of the race, he moved to 11th but lost one place on the final lap.

"The rear end was moving around, I didn't feel comfortable at all," said Checa, still third in the World Championship. "I just couldn't go faster, I don't know why but the wind was a problem, pushing the front into turns. It' s a real shame, a big disappointment, especially since the bike felt good during qualifying and warm-up."

McCOY WINS AGAIN

Spectacular Garry McCoy scored his second 500 win at Estoril, dominating the race from lap six onwards. It was the diminutive Australian's first win since he triumphed at the season-opening South African GP, when he came from behind to score his first 500 win.

"Once I got the lead from Gibernau, I thought I'd just try and keep it all together," he said. "From there my lead just kept growing and that isn't an experience I've had before. I've been waiting a long time for this win and now I feel great."

ROBERTS INCREASES SERIES LEAD

World Championship leader Kenny Roberts (Suzuki) could do nothing about McCoy but second place was enough to stretch his series lead over Valentino Rossi (Honda), who came on strong in the late stages, crossing the line just two tenths down on the American. "We did what we needed to do," said Roberts. "I tried to stay with Garry but I was losing too much on the straightaway, so I'm happy to get out of here with second." Rossi, who had been sick on Friday, was also content with his day's work. "We only qualified 12th, so third is like a win, though it's not good for the championship," he said.

<pre> RACE CLASSIFICATION 1. Garry McCoy (AUS) Red Bull YAMAHA WCM 48'07.663 2. Kenny Roberts (USA) Telefonica Movistar SUZUKI +4.941 3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Nastro Azzurro HONDA +5.182 4. MAX BIAGGI (ITA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team +5.724 5. Regis Laconi (FRA) Red Bull YAMAHA WCM +13.759 6. Alex Criville (SPA) Repsol YPF HONDA Team +15.442 7. Tadayuki Okada (JPN) Repsol YPF HONDA Team +15.425 8. Jurgen vd Goorbergh (NED) Rizla TSR-HONDA +15.776 9. Norick Abe (JPN) Antena 3 YAMAHA d'Antin +19.623 10. Alex Barros (BRA) Emerson HONDA Pons +19.843

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CLASSIFICATION 1. Roberts 194 2. Rossi 148 3. CHECA 132 4. Capirossi 126 5. Abe 113 6. Barros 110 7. McCoy 109 8. Criville 107 9. BIAGGI 102 10. Aoki 86

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Max Biaggi , Carlos Checa , Garry McCoy , Valentino Rossi , Alex Criville , Alex Barros , Sete Gibernau , Kenny Roberts , Abe Norick , Laconi Régis