Portuguese GP MYT race report

www.MYTmedia.com . MARLBORO PORTUGUESE GRAND PRIX, ESTORIL Race Day, Sunday September 9 2001 BAD DAY FOR MARLBORO YAMAHA AT TORTUOUS ESTORIL Marlboro Yamaha Team rider Max Biaggi's World Championship hopes took a serious dent in this afternoon's...

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Race Day, Sunday September 9 2001

Marlboro Yamaha Team rider Max Biaggi's World Championship hopes took a serious dent in this afternoon's incident-packed Marlboro Portuguese Grand Prix. The Italian crashed while on course for a podium finish and though he remounted to finish fifth, he now trails race winner and series leader Valentino Rossi (Honda) by 43 points with five races to go. Marlboro Yamaha Team partner Carlos Checa did at least give the team something to cheer about, riding to fourth in blazing hot conditions.

"That was a nightmare," said team manager Geoff Crust. "Max crashed for the second race in a row but once again he showed his determination by getting back on board. It will be hard for us to come back from here and challenge Rossi for the title, but we won't give up until it's over. Carlos rode a good race, fighting hard after that chaotic first lap. If he'd got away cleanly I think he could've raced McCoy for third."

Max Biaggi crashed out of a sure third place with seven laps to go at Estoril today, then dragged his Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR out of the dirt to fight back to finish fifth after a brief skirmish with fellow YZR rider Nori Haga. It was a typical display of dogged determination from the Italian who tumbled out of the lead of the Czech GP two weeks ago, remounting to finish tenth. But the two crashes have done no good to Biaggi's title chances.

"It was another strange crash," said the former 250 champ who started from pole position for the fourth successive race and led the opening two laps. "Just like Brno, I wasn't doing anything different at that corner, the front just let go mid-turn. On the grid we'd changed the rear tyre because the temperature was so much higher than during warm-up, but that didn't have anything to do with the fall. Early on, when I was chasing Rossi and Capirossi, I was struggling to stay with them down the straight. Before the race I said I was looking for a podium finish and I'd contented myself with third, so I'm really disappointed not to have got third. We stay here for testing tomorrow, then we go to Valencia in two weeks, where we'll try to win again."

Carlos Checa strengthened his World Championship position with a fine ride to fourth in oppressive heat at Estoril. The Marlboro Yamaha Team rider avoided the first-turn chaos that claimed Tohru Ukawa (Honda), Alex Barros (Honda) and Norick Abe (Yamaha) but did collide with World Champion Kenny Roberts (Suzuki) at the same moment. He completed the first lap down in eighth and had to ride hard to make progress around a track that makes passing extra difficult.

"The first turn was crazy, Roberts came up the inside and he touched my leg, I still have the tyre mark on my leathers," smiled a sweat-drenched Checa. "I didn't see what happened with Abe and the others but I definitely didn't come out of it the best. I caught Haga after a couple of laps but had to fight hard to get away from him. I wanted to catch McCoy, I was running a good pace, but I'd lost too much time. The bike was pretty good, after we'd had some problems in warm-up, and we'll do some more work on settings when we stay here for tests tomorrow."

Valentino Rossi continued his push towards the 500 crown with a convincing win today. The victory was the Italian's seventh of the year and he now enjoys a gaping points advantage. Loris Capirossi, riding a 2000-spec Honda, chased hard all the way but couldn't quite match Rossi's pace in the closing stages.

"This race was very good for the championship, mainly because Biaggi crashed," he said. "Now I have a big advantage. Loris rode so hard today and stayed with me most of the way. At the end I focused on being smooth because it's so easy to make mistakes at this track."

Garry McCoy (Yamaha) came in third to score his first podium in five months. "I hope this is something of a recovery," said the Aussie who won here last year and has missed much of 2001 through injury. "I missed the turn-one havoc but after that it was a bit of a lonely race, I was pretty much just racing against my pit board."

<pre> RESULTS 1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Nastro Azzurro HONDA 47'25.357 2. Loris Capirossi (ITA) West HONDA Pons +1.756 3. Garry McCoy (AUS) Red Bull YAMAHA WCM +14.030 4. CARLOS CHECA (SPA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team +24.337 5. MAX BIAGGI (ITA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team +31.348 6. Kenny Roberts (USA) Telefonica Movistar SUZUKI +31.925 7. Jurgen vd Goorbergh (NED) PROTON Team KR +37.140 8. Olivier Jacque (FRA) Gauloises YAMAHA Tech 3 +41.043 9. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Gauloises YAMAHA Tech 3 +50.273 10. Jose Luis Cardoso (SPA) Antena 3 YAMAHA d'Antin +58.227

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS 1. Valentino Rossi 220 2. MAX BIAGGI 177 3. Loris Capirossi 147 4. Alex Barros 107 5. Shinya Nakano 107 6. Norick Abe 100 7. Alex Criville 91 8. CARLOS CHECA 89 9. Kenny Roberts 72 10. Sete Gibernau 68


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Series MotoGP
Drivers Max Biaggi , Carlos Checa , Garry McCoy , Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Norifumi Abe , Alex Criville , Alex Barros , Tohru Ukawa , Sete Gibernau , Shinya Nakano , Kenny Roberts Jr. , Olivier Jacque , Jose Luis Cardoso