MYT Valencia GP race report

Marlboro Yamaha Team duo Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa played an entertaining role in this afternoon's action-packed Marlboro Grand Prix of Valencia, battling bravely for podium finishes. The pair ended the grueling race, run in scorching 30-degree...

Marlboro Yamaha Team duo Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa played an entertaining role in this afternoon's action-packed Marlboro Grand Prix of Valencia, battling bravely for podium finishes. The pair ended the grueling race, run in scorching 30-degree heat, third and seventh, both of them giving everything they'd got from start to finish. Checa's race was spoiled by an off-track excursion that dropped him out of contention in the closing stages. The race was won by Garry McCoy (Yamaha).

"That was an exciting race for both of them, for everyone in fact," said team manager Geoff Crust. "We always knew it was going to be hard in this heat but they both rode strong races, attacking all the time. Carlos was unlucky but it's great to see him back on it and it's nice to see Max on the podium again. They were both running the same pace as McCoy for much of the race and now we're looking forward to Rio. Max went well there last year and it should be good for us."

The team stays at Valencia to test new parts on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Marlboro Yamaha Team star Max Biaggi continued his strong run of form with a determined ride to third place. The Italian, who led the first three laps from second on the grid, spent much of the race locked in a battle for second with team-mate Checa, Kenny Roberts (Suzuki) and Valentino Rossi (Honda). Checa was the first to drop back, when he went off-track, then Rossi crashed, leaving Biaggi to mount a last-gasp attack on Roberts. He crossed the line less than a second behind the American.

"I did everything I could all race, that's my job!" grinned Biaggi. "I'm happy with third because it was a hard race, much harder than the last few. I got close to Roberts and tried to pass but the front was sliding, I had a couple of big moments. I raced my number-one bike even though we had a small engine problem in warm-up. My other bike was faster this morning but it didn't have the same chassis feeling, so I raced my number one, even though the motor still wasn't perfect."

After a run of difficult races, Marlboro Yamaha Team rider Carlos Checa was back to his old self at Valencia, riding a storming first half to close on the battle for second. The fastest man on the track at one stage, Checa made it to third, giving Roberts plenty to think about. But then he had a front-end slide that sent him down a slip road and he ended up seventh.

"It was a big slide, maybe five metres," he said. "I was lucky not to crash and by the time I'd saved it, I was already heading off the track. The front had been pushing a lot and the rear had been moving around too. After the slide I lost a bit of confidence but I'm happy because I was fighting all race and I know what to do to improve the front end."

Garry McCoy (Yamaha) won his second successive 500 GP today, running away from the pack as he did at Estoril two weeks ago, and ending a record 22-race run without back-to-back winners. The Australian took the lead from Biaggi on lap four and steadily built a good advantage over pursuers Roberts, Biaggi, Checa and Rossi. His win strengthened Yamaha's position at the top of the manufacturers' championship. "I'm happy, now I've just got to keep doing this for the rest of the year," said McCoy who crossed the line five seconds ahead of Roberts. "Kenny and Valentino were fighting for the championship, so they couldn't really keep up, they had too much to lose."

Series leader Kenny Roberts took a big step to his first 500 crown after a race-long battle to stay second. Title rival Rossi did move ahead in the late stages but fell soon after, leaving Roberts with a 66 point lead. The son of a legend will be World Champion if he finishes in the top seven at Rio in three weeks time. "I couldn't have asked for more," he said. "I could catch Garry, that's for sure, but we had a lot on our minds in terms of the championship."

<pre> RACE CLASSIFICATION 1. Garry McCoy (AUS) Red Bull YAMAHA WCM 48'27.799 2. Kenny Roberts (USA) Telefonica Movistar SUZUKI +5.005 3. MAX BIAGGI (ITA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team +5.978 4. Nobuatsu Aoki (JPN) Telefonica Movistar SUZUKI +8.675 5. Alex Barros (BRA) Emerson HONDA Pons +14.247 6. Regis Laconi (FRA) Red Bull YAMAHA WCM +16.111 7. CARLOS CHECA (SPA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team +19.967 8. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Repsol YPF HONDA Team +21.094 9. Tadayuki Okada (JPN) Repsol YPF HONDA Team +21.346 10. Jurgen vd Goorbergh (NED) Rizla TSR-HONDA +37.506

CHAMPIONSHIP CLASSIFICATION 1. Roberts 214 2. Rossi 148 3. CHECA 141 4. McCoy 134 5. Capirossi 126 6. Barros 121 7. BIAGGI 118 8. Abe 113 9. Criville 107 10. Aoki 99

CONSTRUCTORS' CHAMPIONSHIP 1. YAMAHA 261 2. Honda 246 3. Suzuki 220 4. Aprilia 80 5. TSR-Honda 74 6. Modenas KR3 28 7. Paton 1

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Max Biaggi , Carlos Checa , Garry McCoy , Valentino Rossi , Alex Barros , Sete Gibernau , Kenny Roberts Jr. , Nobuatsu Aoki , Laconi Régis