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Katoh edges 250 win after a nail-biting final lap

Katoh edges 250 win after a nail-biting final lap

Daijiro Katoh surged over the finish line just 0.083 seconds ahead of Marco Melandri to take victory in this afternoon´s 250 race at the Gauloises Africa´s Grand Prix. The Honda rider had established a seemingly insurmountable lead after recovering from an average start and left the Aprilia trio of Melandri, Roberto Locatelli and Tetsuya Harada fighting for lower podium positions.

The threesome enjoyed an entertaining skirmish and Katoh was left to power on at the front to establish a solid lead - his main problem being the battle to maintain his concentration whilst out on his own. Further back another ´mini-race´ was taking place between Jeremy McWilliams, Sebastian Porto and Fonsi Nieto for 5th place. The top standings maintained a similar pattern for much of the race, with Melandri finally shaking off his team-mates and heading after Katoh with just six laps to go. The brave Italian warrior, still in pain from a dislocated shoulder, cut back the Japanese title favourite by an average of over 0.5 seconds per lap, and came out of the final bend with great corner speed to head for the outside of Katoh into the final straight. The Honda had power to spare though and Katoh produced a wheelied burst to cross the line in breathtaking style.

Harada held off Locatelli as he had done in Suzuka, although this time it was for third place and not second, whilst Nieto edged out McWilliams to steal fifth at the line.

Riccardo Chiarello and Luca Boscoscuro both fell during the race but were unhurt, whilst David De Gea was forced to retire.

250cc, 2001, Gauloises Africa's Grand Prix, RAC

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