'El Toro' swims with the sharks.

Marlboro Yamaha Team rider Carlos Checa experienced one of the scariest moments of his life today, but the Spanish MotoGP star was nowhere near a 320kmh racing motorcycle. Instead Checa was at L'Aquarium Barcelona, where he swam with sharks, along...

Marlboro Yamaha Team rider Carlos Checa experienced one of the scariest moments of his life today, but the Spanish MotoGP star was nowhere near a 320kmh racing motorcycle. Instead Checa was at L'Aquarium Barcelona, where he swam with sharks, along with fellow GP riders Sete Gibernau and Alex Barros.

"Swimming with the sharks was an amazing experience, and a bit scary when one of them came towards me," grinned Checa, who is a keen diver. "But the people from the aquarium were very professional, everything seemed under control, and they assured me that it was safe, well, 90 per cent safe! They' ve never had a problem before and I was giving the sharks a lot of respect! I was given a few instructions before we went in the water, and one of them was not to touch the sharks, just the moonfish."

Checa learned to dive three years ago, off Australia's Great Barrier Reef and he has also dived off the Malaysian coast. Tomorrow he resumes his normal duties, commencing practicing and qualifying for Sunday's Marlboro Catalan Grand Prix, round six of the 2002 MotoGP World Championship.

While Checa was at the aquarium, Marlboro Yamaha Team-mate Max Biaggi was in the Yamaha hospitality unit within the Catalunya paddock, watching Italy draw with Mexico in their final 'qualifying' match in the football World Cup.

-myt-

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Max Biaggi , Carlos Checa , Sete Gibernau