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Randy Mamola gives his personal opinion on the Gran Premi Marlboro de Catalunya

Randy Mamola gives his personal opinion on the Gran Premi Marlboro de Catalunya

The Italians certainly had a good afternoon in Catalunya with Valentino Rossi, Max Biaggi and Loris Capirossi filling all those steps on the rostrum and making all the news. Also in the news was the incident on the staircase between Valentino and Max after the race. It seems likeeverything has now been resolved and may the best man win in two weeks time at Assen, out there on the track.

Valentino may have won another grand prix race but he certainly had to work very hard for his victory. At the end of the first lap Valentino was down in 12th place and he had a long group of riders to go through especially after starting from pole position. On the second lap he passed two riders and another two on lap three. On the fifth lap he moved from eighth tofifth and so he was really a man on the move the whole time.

Max who finished second had similar problems in the middle of the pack and remained around seventh place for some time and then slowly made his way up. He rode a very consistent race and seemed happier about the result than even Valentino. I think if Max had been able to come through the field in the same way as Valentino we could have seen a better race at the front.I don’t know how much faster Valentino could have gone if he´d been really pushed. He was certainly sliding around a bit while Max was trying to keep it pretty much in line with Loris in third place who was also sliding around.

The race was run at a very difficult pace and the tyres they qualified on at around one minute 45´s would not allow that sort of pace for the 25 lap race distance. The leaders ran around the one minute 47 seconds with Valentino setting the fastest lap of the race with a one minute 46.6seconds, which is a new circuit race record lap.

The Suzuki riders Kenny Roberts and Sete Gibernau were running in fifth and sixth places respectively right from the start. Then Kenny got into turn one too deep and locked up the front. It was the mistake by somebody riding a machine that is underpowered and it was a clear example to everybody of the power that both Honda and Yamaha have over the Suzuki. They are struggling on the straightaway and that´s where people are passing them and Kenny wanted to keep running with those guys, got in there a little bit hot trying to stay with them. Sete kept the Telefonica Movistar Suzuki flag flying and was holding second place for a few laps but finally succumbed to that extra speed of Valentino, Max, Loris and Shinya Nakano.

Alex Barros was one of the hot favourites to win the race but he also crashed out on lap five which was a disappointment. I interviewed Team Owner Sito Pons after the race and he was very happy for Loris Capirossi and felt sorry for Alex, who as always tried very hard the whole weekend.

Norick Abe must have had a fright or something. He made a decent start and was fourth at the end of the first and seconds laps but then he just dropped down the field to seventh place before moving back up again. Nakano´s fourth place was just 3.9 seconds off the race winning time and it was a great achievement. Carlos Checa had a difficult time although he was only 13 seconds adrift, a chatter problem kept him battling with Jurgen vd Goorbergh for eighth place.

Jurgen had a decent weekend on the Proton KR bike after a good test at Assen the week before. It´s the closest Kenny´s bike has ever finished to the leader and the team is pretty happy and looking forward to Assen in a couple of weeks time. Alex Criville had a difficult time and ran into the gravel at the end of the front straightaway. He was having a problem with the bike when it was in sixth gear and it hit 12,500rpm it would bog down and hit hard. He did a similar thing to Kenny by trying to make up for the problem by braking deeper and he ran really wide a couple of times and was very very lucky not to go down. Good to see Olivier Jacque back aftersurgery to his wrist and he did well to finish 12th collecting four points on his return to the Championship. Ch

500cc, 2001

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