2000 MotoGP 500 World Championship, round 11 CZECH GRAND PRIX, BRNO Race Day, Sunday August 20 2000 EMPEROR MAX RULES AT BRNO Max Biaggi (Marlboro Yamaha Team-Michelin) rode to a masterful victory at sweltering Brno this afternoon, dominating...
2000 MotoGP 500 World Championship, round 11
CZECH GRAND PRIX, BRNO
Race Day, Sunday August 20 2000
EMPEROR MAX RULES AT BRNO
Max Biaggi (Marlboro Yamaha Team-Michelin) rode to a masterful victory at sweltering Brno this afternoon, dominating the 11th round of the 2000 500 World Championship from the second lap. Italy's 'Roman Emperor' crossed the finish line six seconds clear of compatriot Valentino Rossi (Nastro Azzurro Honda-Michelin), who got the better of an entertaining battle with rejuvenated Garry McCoy (Red Bull Yamaha WCM-Michelin). In a display of domination rarely seen in 500 racing these days, Biaggi started from pole and ran away with the race, building a lead of almost nine seconds before hitting cruise mode, performing celebratory wheelies and stoppies on the final lap. The victory was his first of the year, and also his first podium finish of the season. Biaggi is a master of Brno, he's won on six of his last seven visits to the track, taking back-to-back 250 wins from '94 to '97 and 500 victory in '98. "I rode fast in the early laps and got a good gap, and from there I just tried to control the race," said Biaggi who easily handled the grueling conditions with track temperatures nudging 50 degrees. "I had a lot of fun sliding the tyres in the later stages, I found I could control the slides easy, so I was just enjoying myself. The bike was great today and it's fantastic to be winning again." Biaggi's tyre choice proved perfect for the conditions. He chose medium compound 17in front and rear Michelins. The first 14 finishers all ran Michelin tyres. Some way behind Biaggi, Rossi and McCoy fought an intense for more than half the race, swapping back and forth, McCoy's outlandish style entertaining everyone, including his race rival. "It's funny watching McCoy," said Rossi, who had the best seat in the house to study the Australian's tyre-smoking antics. "I think next time I'll have to pay for a ticket! It was a good race but I made a big mistake at the start, and then the full fuel load was giving me some front-end problems in the first laps. I wanted to go after Max but I couldn't at that stage." Rossi's result was significant, for it moved him to second in the World Championship ahead of 11th-place finisher Carlos Checa (Marlboro Yamaha Team-Michelin) and closing on points leader Kenny Roberts (Telefonica Movistar Suzuki-Michelin), who could only manage fourth today. The youngster is now 42 behind Roberts with five races to go. McCoy was delighted after scoring his first podium finish since April's Malaysian GP, despite losing out to Rossi after coming across a backmarker on the final lap. "I'm definitely happy," grinned the former 125 rider, who has just re-signed with his team for 2001. "We've had a bit of a bad spell at the last few races but hopefully we'll pick things up from here to the end of the season. I got a good start but wasn't too confident into turn one and that lost me a few laps, so I had to work hard to come through to Rossi." Roberts ran with the leaders early on but then lost contact and settled into a lonely ride to fourth. "We were maxed out here and pretty soon I knew top five was all I could hope for," he said. "I wasn't going to make the podium unless Garry and Valentino took each other out but I think we'll be in better shape for the next race at Estoril, my bike should suit that place better." For some while Roberts was shadowed by Capirossi but the Italian slowed as a hand injury began to take its toll. The former 125 and 250 king broke a bone in his hand on Saturday morning and rode a hero's race to fifth, collapsing in his pit immediately after crossing the finish line. Sete Gibernau (Repsol Honda-Michelin) proved he's getting back to form with a spirited ride, winning a five-man contest for sixth place. The Spaniard crossed the line just ahead of reigning World Champion Alex Crivill=E9 (Repsol Honda-Michelin), Nobuatsu Aoki (Telefonica Movistar Suzuki-Michelin), Jeremy McWilliams (Blu Aprilia Team-Michelin) and Tadayuki Okada (Repsol Honda-Michelin).