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Mick Doohan looks back on a chaotic but classic 500 race at Mugello

Mick Doohan looks back on a chaotic but classic 500 race at Mugello

Hi folks,

I´m back in Monaco now after escaping the rain in Mugello. It was a real shame about the weather, because when the initial 500 race got underway Valentino Rossi was in complete control. There was a slight damp spot at the end of the straight which was causing him a bit of trouble but other than that I thought Valentino knew exactly what he was doing. Kenny Roberts had got a great start but the other riders had begun to pick him off one by one and I don´t think he would have held out at the front.

When the race was stopped it became a complete lottery. No-one knew if it was going to rain or clear up, and it was a gamble for the crews in the pit lane. In a way it was lucky it started to rain before they went out because at least they knew which tyres to put on. Unfortunately Valentino got caught out on his sighting lap, which was quite embarrassing for him but it´s just one of those things. The other riders, particularly Max Biaggi and Norick Abe, will have been hoping he didn´t make it back, but it was like a scene from a movie when he turned up in the pit lane on the back of a scooter with the crowd cheering. The team weren´t too excited by it but at least they had his second bike ready and he got out onto the track in time.

At that point I though Kenny Roberts was going to run away with it. He´s excellent in the wet, in fact I think he does a rain dance before every race, but Barros got a good start and was very strong at the front. It wasn´t a surprise for me to see Aoki come through, because the V2 is always useful in those conditions. The throttle is not as powerful and it´s easier to keep control. However, he did do exceptionally well and his team will be very proud of him.

Abe was very unlucky to fall, I think there must have been a puddle there or something because it´s the same spot Valentino went off. It looked good at that stage for Rossi because Abe was out of the main points, even though he did well to come back and finish the race, and he looked set to extend his lead in the Championship. When Valentino crashed, Abe must have breathed a huge sigh of relief because he would have been kicking himself had it worked out the other way around.

The man who came out of the whole thing smelling of roses was Max Biaggi. Max hardly put a foot wrong all weekend and in the race he stayed sensible, didn´t risk it and ended up closing down on Valentino in the Championship standings. It was exciting stuff, although from my point of view the racing would have been better in the dry.

I´ll be speaking to you again before the next race in Catalunya, so take care until then.



500cc, 2001

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