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Harada closes in on Katoh with thrilling 250 win in wet

Harada closes in on Katoh with thrilling 250 win in wet

Japanese MS Aprilia rider, Tetsuya Harada won in damp conditions in Mugello, after having seen the two main rivals for podium top spot crash out within a minute of each other. The beginning of the race had seen heavy downpours descend upon the Tuscan countryside, and riders really had to be careful of where they put their bike, as there were a few puddles about. However 19 riders of the 29 who started, managed to finish, and it was Harada at the head of all them.

A bizarre start which had seen Battaini fall, saw the front three riders from the grid, Lucchi, McWilliams and Harada, battling for top spot. At one point all three riders crossed the start-finish line at exactly the same time and it looked as if it would be a classic until the end. However it was on the very same lap that Mugello specialist Marcellino Lucchi, riding with a broken foot, crashed out for the third time this weekend. As he picked himself up from the crash, a wry shake of the head and wave signalled that he couldn´t carry on any more, McWilliams, who was visibly angry to have lost control of his Aprilia after dipping into a nearside kerb under a minute later.

Harada never really looked threatened from that point on, despite a charge from home rider Roberto Rolfo who ended up in second place. Fans favourite Marco Melandri also made the podium with a solid ride, and as the track dried out other Aprilia riders Locatelli and Fonsi Nieto, made it into fourth and fifth respectively, completing a rout by Aprilia bikes.

Incidents of note were the 10th placed Daijiro Katoh, who now will have to fight to hang on to his slender 5 point lead in the Championship in Catalunya after being unable to perform in the wet here and maintain his 100% winning record. Also notable was Dark Dog rider, Katja Poensgen, picking up her first MotoGP points, in 14th spot.

Tags:
250cc, 2001, Gran Premio Cinzano d'Italia, RAC

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