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Harada wins at the fifth attempt on his return to 250cc and establishes himself as title contender

Harada wins at the fifth attempt on his return to 250cc and establishes himself as title contender

Tetsuya Harada took his first victory of the year in the quarter-litre class and demonstrated that his is up to the challenge laid down by his compatriot Daijiro Katoh. The Aprilia rider yesterday ended Katoh´s winning streak on the Italian factory´s home circuit, a track he knows better than his own back garden. The Japanese rider has recovered his confidence this season after two years in the 500cc class representing the Noale factory. Last season was particularly negative for Harada and with sixth plave in Catalunya his best result all year, he ended the season in 16th overall. One year previously, things had been going better, and he had made it to the bottom step of the podium twice, in France and in Great Britain, to end the season in 10th position. Aprilia´s decision not to continue with the 500cc twin cylinder project left Harada in a complicated situation compensated by an offer to ride in 250cc.

Harada yesterday collected his 15th victory in a class he knows perfectly well. He won the World Championship with Yamaha in 1993 and, two years later, he finished runner-up to Biaggi. In ´97 and ´98 he finished in third position, although he still holds bad memories of the way in which he lost the title in the latter. It happened at the Grand Prix of Argentina when Harada and Capirossi, (both riders on Aprilia) both riders turned up to contest the title. The race one one of the most exciting ever and on the last lap Capirossi tried an outrageous overtaking manoeuvre on Harada which left the Japanese rider on the floor and out of the race. If he had maintained his position ahead of the Italian he would have become World Champion for the second time. Harada could not understand what had happened because it was his team-mate who banged into him. Now he has the opportunity to take revenge on history and go for the title that escaped him once more.

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

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