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Italians top all three podiums at Sachsenring

Italians top all three podiums at Sachsenring

Max Biaggi blasted his way from pole position and never looked back as he went on to take his third victory of the season and close the gap on Championship leader Valentino Rossi to ten points at the Sachsenring circuit today. The ´Roman Emperor´ was in imperious form, maintaining his place at the front of the pack into the first corner and holding on to his advantage throughout the 30 lap race, ahead of team-mate Carlos Checa and fellow Yamaha riders Norick Abe and Shinya Nakano.

´I knew after last year´s race that this track is very difficult for overtaking, so I tried to get away from pole as quick as I could and escape from the rest of the field,´ said Biaggi. ´The bike worked perfectly well and I was able to go along with my plan. It´s a very important victory for me because the Championship is a lot tighter and I am delighted for the team.´

Barros was also involved in the early exchanges at the front of the pack but soon dropped away to leave Checa, Abe and Nakano to battle it out for the remaining podium positions. In the end it was Checa who sealed a second one-two for the Marlboro Yamaha Team this season, with Nakano notching his first podium appearance of his debut year in the 500 class after setting the fastest time of the race on the last lap to hold off Abe. Barros won the three way battle for fifth as Jacque edged out Rossi to seventh. Capirossi was unable to maintain the pace of the trio and had to settle for eighth, followed by Suzuki team-mates Kenny Roberts and Sete Gibernau.

Melandri made a magnificent penultimate corner manoeuvre on Katoh in the 250 race to take his first ever win since stepping up to the quarter-litre class at the beginning of last season. Katoh led the in the closing stages of the race, but despite mistakes by Melandri and his Aprilia team-mate Harada he failed to pull away and the Italian youngster pulled an exquisite move up the inside, timing his braking to perfection to leave the Honda rider with no time to react on the slow, uphill final corner. Alzamora and McWilliams had crashed out of the front pack to leave the trio to do battle ahead of the rest of the field.

Harada came in third behind his Japanese compatriot and now lies 44 points behind him in the Championship standings. Melandri cut down the gap to the leader from third place to 52 points with seven races remaining. German rider Alex Hoffman scored his best result of the season in seventh, whilst team-mate Katja Poensgen will have been glad to finish the race in front of her home crowd as a total of 12 riders crashed out.

Simone Sanna had set the standard for fellow Italians Melandri and Biaggi by taking his first win of the season in this morning´s 125 race. Sanna emerged with the plaudits after a ten man battle which saw Cecchinello, Elias, Azuma and Poggiali all with a fighting chance of victory. Elias finally settled for second place to cut down Poggiali´s Championship lead to just three points, with the San Marino rider less than half a second behind him in third, just 0.033 seconds ahead of Azuma. Cecchinello ended up without a podium position in fifth despite leading for much of the race.

500cc, 2001

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