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Katoh aces his fifth win of the year with victory in Catalunya

Katoh aces his fifth win of the year with victory in Catalunya

It seemed inevitable after Daijiro Katoh had topped every 250cc session at the Gran Premi de Catalunya, that it would take an extra special effort to beat the Japanese Championship leader today. Tetsuya Harada tried his best but Katoh was unchallenged in his fifth victory of the year.

It was an Aprilia twosome of Marco Melandri and Harada who leapt off the line and headed the field as the 250s charged down the hill. Former 125cc World Champion Emilio Alzamora was also in close company along with a studious Katoh.

As the race began to take shape in the opening laps, Harada held the advantage with Melandri shadowing his team-mate. Katja Poensgen would play no significant part in the action after she ran off the track on the first lap. The Dark Dog Aprilia rider managed to get going, but finished in the position where she rejoined the race-track - in last place.

Katoh nudged past Melandri at the end of the first lap and carefully shadowed his countryman. Harada´s lead lasted all of two laps as the Telefonica Movistar Honda rider eased through on the brakes at the end of the start-finish straight.

The expected break-away from Katoh never materialised and full credit must go to Harada who pushed the leader all the way to the flag. If the 31 year old Aprilia rider was waiting for his moment to re-take control of the Grand Prix then sadly it never came, Katoh didn´t faltered under pressure and Harada never experienced a valid moment to overtake, despite being faster on the last section of the track.

Melandri held third for six laps until he lost the front end of his machine braking into the tight left hander at the end of the back straight. The young Italian rolled into gravel and lasted no more than 11 laps.

Roberto Rolfo rode a lonely race behind the top three and was happy to inherit third after Melandri´s untimely exit. It´s the Italian´s second consecutive podium finish after his excellent runner-up spot in Mugello.

Despite the top two increasing the tension with their close circulation the real excitement in the race fell to the battle for fifth. Roberto Locatelli had a fine ride and stormed his way to fourth after being 13th on the first lap. He must have been glad to be aloof of the scrap behind him which saw Jeremy McWilliams dicing with Fonsi Nieto and Emilio Alzamora, who was feeling the effects of a practice crash yesterday. McWilliams was the second fastest rider on the track at one stage but could not get the better of Nieto was inspired at his home GP and eventually won the jostle to take his tally of fifth position finishes to five.McWilliams took sixth on his new machine and Alzamora came home seventh.

Click here to see highlights of the 250cc race

Click here to hear the interviews

250cc, 2001, Gran Premi Marlboro de Catalunya, RAC

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