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Mick Doohan weighs up the Gran Premio Marlboro de España

Mick Doohan weighs up the Gran Premio Marlboro de España

The Spanish Grand Prix was another classic as far as this year goes, particularly for Valentino Rossi. He looked to have the race under control from the first lap, making an early break without even pushing too hard. Abe was the only rider close to Valentino and he knew that as long as that was the case he could save his tyres and let Abe make his move. He knew that he could go faster but there was no way his tyres can keep up to his pace for the whole race so he just sat in there and let things develop.

Abe passed about mid-way through the race, but he was lapping 0.7 seconds slower at the front of the field than Valentino was, so I always knew it wouldn´t last. Abe realised what Rossi´s game was and tried to let him pass, but Valentino stayed where he was until seven or eight laps from the end. The fact he set the race fastest lap straight after overtaking Abe just shows you how much he was holding back, and he set consistent lap times under the 1´44 mark from that point on which made it absolutely impossible for anybody to catch him. It was another very intelligent performance from Valentino and he deserves his championship lead after three excellent races.

I think if Alex Criville had made a better start he could have definitely taken second place, if not challenged Valentino for victory. Alex had an excellent race and it will do his confidence a world of good. He is one of the only riders out there who is capable of running with Valentino, but his confidence has been low after a bad season last year and some unlucky injuries. Unfortunately for Alex, Valentino is just so confident at the moment that he is very difficult to beat. Valentino knows how to get the best out of a 500 and has the talent to push it to the limit, but so does Alex and I know he can make a challenge if he builds on his performance here.

As for the rest of the guys, Capirossi was unlucky after making a good start and setting some consistent early laps before going into the gravel. It was a shame for him because he could have stayed with Abe and Rossi and made the podium at least. Biaggi made a mistake and has slipped back in the championship quite a lot, which he won´t be happy about at all.

The other big performance of the day for me was by young Shinya Nakano. The guy matures with every race, he´s started form the front row of the grid in each round and he´s lying third in the championship in his rookie year in 500. This is a fantastic achievement for him and the Tech 3 Yamaha team and he is certainly a rider to keep an eye on as the season unfolds.

Tags:
500cc, 2001

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