PACIFIC GRAND PRIX, MOTEGI
Race Day, Sunday October 15 2000
Marlboro Yamaha Team duo Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa were third and fourth in today's tension-packed Pacific GP at cool, cloudy Motegi. Though neither was able to race with runaway winner Kenny Roberts (Suzuki) after bad getaways, both men rode hard and fast races, providing top entertainment for the 66,000 fans.
But Yamaha Grand Prix manager Masahiko Nakajima was disappointed that Biaggi couldn't back up yesterday's pole position with another win. "It's a real shame," he said. "Max lost places in the first corner and that got him stuck behind some slow guys. That's why he couldn't catch Kenny. If he'd got a good start, I'm sure he could've raced for the win. Carlos rode a great race considering his falls in practice; we think he gets a little too excited in practice but we've discussed this and his riding is getting better and better. We go to the last race in Australia leading the Constructors' World Championship by two points from Honda, so we must beat them there!"
Yesterday the Marlboro Yamaha Team announced that both Biaggi and Checa have agreed to renew their contracts for 2001.
BIAGGI ENJOYS GREAT RACE TO THIRD
Marlboro Yamaha Team ace Max Biaggi played a starring role in the race, battling for second with arch-rival Valentino Rossi (Honda) for much of the 25 laps. Biaggi lost out in a thrilling final lap sort-out but third place strengthened his position in the World Championship with just one race to go.
"I enjoyed that, it was a lot of fun and the bike was good," said the former 250 champ who started from pole for the fifth time this year. "My start wasn't bad but someone hit me at the first turn and I lost a lot of places. The first three laps were very hard, I did some fairing bashing with Barros and by the time I'd got going, Roberts had already said 'bye-bye'. I caught Rossi and had a big fight with him but it was tough to get close enough to pass. I got him with seven laps to go, but he got me on the brakes on the last lap. I had one last go but ran wide. I tried everything, so third is okay."
BIRTHDAY BOY CHECA BOUNCES BACK
Marlboro Yamaha Team rider Carlos Checa celebrated his 28th birthday with a determined ride to fourth after a slow getaway. The Spaniard, who suffered three practice tumbles including a huge Friday 13th highside, came back strongly to run the second half of the race in fourth and move himself back to third overall in this year's World Championship.
"I ate my birthday cake before the race, and of course I'm also older and wiser today!" he grinned. "I should've got a good start but I had some clutch slip and a lot of guys went past. Without that I think I could've been second behind Roberts on the first lap, with Okada, Criville and Gibernau behind me, instead of in front and in my way. The bike was good, so I could pass them but I had to go very deep to get by and was pushing the front. My rear tyre was perfect and the front was good too."
ROBERTS GETS THE EARLY BREAK
A week after securing his first 500 World Championship with a steady ride to sixth at Rio, Kenny Roberts scored an emphatic start-to-finish win. Although the American was lucky that several slower riders slowed his main rivals' progress in the early laps, he was always in control and won by six seconds. "After Rio, we came here to win and we did the job," he said. "My bike was perfect from start to finish; now I want to do the same at Phillip Island."
ROSSI GRABS SECOND
Valentino Rossi (Honda) grabbed second from Max Biaggi in the final few turns after a thrilling all-Italian contest. "I shut all the doors on him, it was a great race," he said. "I said last week that we didn't see the true Kenny in Rio, but I think I prefer the Rio Kenny, because he was so fast today, and I think he'll be hard to beat in 2001."
<pre> RACE CLASSIFICATION 1. Kenny Roberts (USA) Telefonica Movistar SUZUKI 46'23.327 2. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Nastro Azzurro HONDA +6.175 3. MAX BIAGGI (ITA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team +6.360 4. CARLOS CHECA (SPA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team +19.727 5. Norick Abe (JPN) Antena 3 Yamaha d'Antin +21.994 6. Alex Criville (SPA) Repsol YPF HONDA Team +22.237 7. Alex Barros (BRA) Emerson HONDA Pons +23.963 8. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Emerson HONDA Pons +26.051 9. Nobuatsu Aoki (JPN) Telefonica Movistar SUZUKI +26.388 10. Tadayuki Okada (JPN) Repsol HONDA +32.508
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CLASSIFICATION 1. Roberts 249 2. Rossi 193 3. CHECA 155 4. McCoy 150 5. Barros 150 6. BIAGGI 145 7. Abe 137 8. Capirossi 134 9. Criville 122 10. Aoki 110
CONSTRUCTORS CHAMPIONSHIP 1. YAMAHA 293 2. Honda 291 3. Suzuki 255