The Brazilian Grand Prix holds some very special memories for the Repsol YPF Honda team and itÂ¹s World Champion Alex CrivillÃ©. Last year, it was here that CrivillÃ© took his first 500cc crown when he finished the race in sixth position....
The Brazilian Grand Prix holds some very special memories for the Repsol YPF Honda team and it¹s World Champion Alex Crivillé. Last year, it was here that Crivillé took his first 500cc crown when he finished the race in sixth position. Crivillé walked straight into the history books despite suffering from an injured left wrist. Crivillé had broken the wrist two races beforehand, in Australia, and was only able to attend the South African and Brazilian Grand Prix thanks to an emergency operation carried out in Spain. "Brazil is sure to bring back good memories," agrees Crivillé. "But as far as this season is concerned, I¹ll be taking the Rio race as just another race. I might have a better opportunity to win this year, however, because last year, because of the pain of the wrist I broke in Australia and the pressure of the title fight, I couldn¹t hope to do that."
Of course, those happy memories from last year will be slightly overshadowed by the fact that for Crivillé and the rest of the Repsol YPF Honda team, the 2000 season hasn¹t gone to plan. Unforeseen technical problems have prevented Crivillé and his Repsol YPF Honda team-mates Sete Gibernau and Tadayuki Okada from getting the results their talent deserves. But everyone has worked very hard to cure these problems and the situation has improved greatly over the last few races. "My feeling with the bike is now much better," Crivillé explains. "I still think that if I hadn¹t crashed out of the Valencia Grand Prix, I could have won there. Now I¹m really looking forward to Brazil and to taking a good result in the last three races of the year."
This year¹s difficulties have also taken their toll on Sete Gibernau. The Spaniard has already announced that he would no longer be racing with the Repsol YPF Honda team next year. So naturally, he¹s anxious to leave the team on a high. "Both the team and myself need a good result before the end of the season," says Gibernau, who still feels some of the effects of a recent crash. "I¹m okay physically although my back was still a little painful in Valencia. But I¹m sure I¹ll be fully recovered for this week-end¹s race. Last year, qualifying went quite well in Brazil but I had a few problems in the race which prevented me from fighting for the win. But in the end I was fifth, only four seconds behind the race winner Norick Abe, and that is really encouraging."
Tadayuki Okada is also keen to push his 2000 season points tally up and Brazil could be the perfect opportunity for him to do that. Okada had a great race there last year and was on the card for a fine win when a near-collision with another rider sent him off the track. By the time he re-joined, Okada was too far down the standings to hope for even a podium finish. "That was quite a moment," Okada admits. "But it¹s all in the past. Now I¹m concentrating on this year. The bike has been improving steadily and I¹ve started to enjoy riding it again. Let¹s hope Brazil is where I start to win with it again."
<pre> STARTING GRID IN 1999 1. K. Roberts 1¹52.227 2. S. Gibernau 1¹52.552 3. A. Barros 1¹52.672 4. C. Checa 1¹52.672 5. T. Okada 1¹52.790 6. M. Biaggi 1¹52.960 7. J. Vd. Goorbergh 1¹53.014 8. A. Gobert 1¹53.101 9. N. Aoki 1¹53.132 10. G. McCoy 1¹53.165 11. A.Crivillé 1¹53.208 12. N. Abe 1¹53.214 13. J. Borja 1¹53.468 14. R. Laconi 1¹53.608 15. J. Kocinski 1¹53.905 16. D. De Gea 1¹54.235 17. JL. Cardoso 1¹54.334 18. T. Harada 1¹54.483 19. H. Aoki 1¹54.849 20. M. Hale 1¹55.012
RACE IN 1999 1 N. Abe 45¹24.308 2 M. Biaggi 45¹24.469 3 K. Roberts 45¹24.565 4 A. Barros 45¹28.750 5 S. Gibernau 45¹28.939 6 A. Crivillé 45¹45.562 7 T. Okada 45¹45.833 8 G. McCoy 45¹46.702 9 N. Aoki 45¹47.397 10 A. Gobert 45¹54.583 11 R. Laconi 46¹05.622 12 T. Harada 46¹05.956 13 J. Kocinski 46¹07.065 14 D. De Gea 46¹07.688 15 H. Aoki 46¹09.960
Not classified J. Borja 13¹49.451 J. vd. Goorbergh 7¹46.857
Length: 4.933 metres Race distance: 118.392 kms. Pole position in 1999: K Roberts 1¹52.227 Fastest lap in 1999: M. Biaggi 1¹52.869 Circuit Record Lap 1997: T. Okada 1¹51.928
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER VALENCIA POS RIDER POINTS 1 K. Roberts 214 2 V. Rossi 148 3 C. Checa 141 4 G. McCoy 134 5 L. Capirossi 126 6 A. Barros 121 7 M. Biaggi 118 8 N. Abe 113 9 A. Crivillé 107 10 N. Aoki 99 11 R. Laconi 88 12 T. Okada 87 13 J. vd Goorbergh 74 14 J. McWilliams 66 15 S. Gibernau 59 16 T. Harada 30