Dutch GP: Yamaha Team race report

Race Day, Saturday June 29 2002 MARLBORO YAMAHA ON THE PODIUM AGAIN Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR-M1 rider Carlos Checa took third in this afternoon' s Dutch TT, the fourth race in a row that one of the team's riders has stood on the podium.

Race Day, Saturday June 29 2002


Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR-M1 rider Carlos Checa took third in this afternoon' s Dutch TT, the fourth race in a row that one of the team's riders has stood on the podium. Team-mate Max Biaggi was less lucky but rode a typically determined race to fourth place. As usual at Assen, weather played an important role in the outcome of the race. Apart from this afternoon, the only dry track time riders had was on Thursday, requiring them to make educated guesses on set-up and tyres.

"Even if it was dry for the race, weather conditions played a part in this event," explained Marlboro Yamaha Team director Davide Brivio. "Carlos made some little changes to his set-up, which took him a few laps to get accustomed to. They both once again rode very good races. Carlos had a great run, and his last-corner collision with Ukawa was just a racing incident. Max suffered, but he rode as hard as ever and without that problem he would' ve been right up there. Carlos is now third in the championship, which is a great reward for the whole team, now we need to keep working and look for better results at Donington and the Sachsenring."


Carlos Checa scored his second successive third-place finish today, surviving a last-corner collision with rival Tohru Ukawa (Honda) to move into third place in the World Championship. This was another impressive display from the Marlboro Yamaha Team rider, who came through from seventh on lap one to battle with Ukawa and team-mate Max Biaggi. In the final laps it was just Ukawa and Checa, the Japanese in the M1's wheel tracks until he went for the inside line as they attacked the chicane for the final time. Both were forced off track and across the muddy grass, Checa staying on board, Ukawa toppling off, then remounting to finish fifth.

"I want to check my bike to see if there's a magnet somewhere!" joked Checa. "I touched a lot of riders today - Rossi on the first lap, then Max, then Ukawa at the last corner. My leathers are covered in black tyre marks from the other riders, they'll need repairing! The touch with Max was a bit scary - fifth gear and not easy to stay on the track! With Ukawa, I saw him coming as I flicked into the chicane, so I lifted up to go cut the corner, if I hadn't, we would've both crashed. But I'm very satisfied with this result. We changed some chassis settings for the race, which we hadn't been able to test on a dry track, so it took me a while to get used to how the bike was reacting. I was having trouble through some of the high-speed sections, and only after half the race did I feel really comfortable. Also, we chose a rear Michelin with which I'd only done five laps in practice, but it worked great, it helped me go faster towards the end."


A close second fastest in the sole dry qualifying session on Thursday, Max Biaggi was hoping for another podium finish at Assen today. But lack of dry-track time prevented the Marlboro Yamaha Team star from further work on chassis settings, aimed to improve the manoeuvrability of his YZR-M1. He ran well in the early stages, battling back and forth with Checa and Ukawa, but slipped back as he found the machine more of a handful in the closing stages.

"I was hoping for much better from this race," said Biaggi, now fifth overall, just three points behind Checa. "The problem is that this track is very unusual - it's all about high-speed direction changes - and this is the area of performance that we've been working to improve. The bike isn't as manoeuvrable as I'd like it to be, and over race distance it's hard to ride precisely. Just after half distance, when I was right with Carlos and Ukawa, I made a mistake at turn one, got a wheel on the grass, and that's when I lost touch with them. I like the next two tracks at Donington and Sachsenring but we need to keep working to improve handling."


Alex Barros led most of the race on his Honda NSR500 two-stroke but Rossi had horsepower to spare as he blasted past the Brazilian to score his sixth win from seven rides. "Alex was incredible, I've never seen anyone ride a 500 like that since I started riding big bikes in 2000," said Rossi. "My bike was like a tractor to steer through the high-speed directions changes, but I felt comfortable because my engine was faster." Barros' team-mate Loris Capirossi was with the leaders when he fell at Witterdiep. The Italian broke his right wrist and will be out of racing until August's Czech GP.

1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Repsol HONDA Team (RC211V) 38'49.425
2. Alex Barros (BRA) West HONDA Pons (NSR500) +2.233
3. CARLOS CHECA (SPA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team (YZR-M1) +9.682
4. MAX BIAGGI (ITA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team (YZR-M1) +13.308
5. Tohru Ukawa (JPN) Repsol HONDA Team (RC211V) +32.386
6. Kenny Roberts (USA) Telefonica Movistar SUZUKI (GSV-R) +33.278
7. John Hopkins (USA) Red Bull YAMAHA WCM (YZR500) +35.463
8. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Gauloises YAMAHA Tech 3 (YZR500) +35.619
9. Norick Abe (JPN) Antena 3 Yamaha d'Antin (YZR500) +37.443
10. Jurgen vd Goorbergh (NED) Kanemoto Racing (NSR500) +48.100

1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) 170
2. Tohru Ukawa (JPN) 108
4. Alex Barros (BRA) 71
6. Loris Capirossi (ITA) 65
7. Norick Abe (JPN) 59
8. Daijiro Kato (JPN) 51
9. Kenny Roberts (USA) 38
10. John Hopkins (USA) 33


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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Max Biaggi , Carlos Checa , Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Norifumi Abe , Alex Barros , Tohru Ukawa , Shinya Nakano , Kenny Roberts Jr. , John Hopkins , Davide Brivio