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Marlboro Yamaha score second one-two of 2001

Marlboro Yamaha score second one-two of 2001

Max Biaggi scored a masterful start-to-finish victory at sun-blessedSachsenring today, leading home Marlboro Yamaha Team-mate Carlos Checa and giving his World Championship hopes a dramatic boost.

No one came even close to the Italian after he´d got the holeshotfrom pole position, while Checa had to fight hard for his second runner-upfinish of the season, just edging out fellow Yamaha riders Shinya Nakano andNorick Abe. Biaggi´s third victory of 2001 narrowed the points gap on seriesleader Valentino Rossi (Honda) from 26 to ten points. Rossi scored his worstfinish of the year today, coming home a distant seventh after starting from11th on the grid.

This was the Marlboro Yamaha Team´s second one-two finish of theyear, following their similarly dominant display at May´s French GP, and theresult sends the crew into the mid-season break in great spirits. Today wasalso the first time Yamaha has filled the first four places since the 1990Belgian GP.

´I´m so happy!´ beamed Marlboro Yamaha Team director Hiroya Atsumi.´Maybe this is the turning point of the season, I think this victory wasvery important for all of us. Max rode a fantastic race, he´s riding sogreat at the moment, and Carlos too, it´s wonderful to see him back on thepodium where he belongs. Also, so good to see four Yamahas in the top four.For sure our bike works well here, but not only that, we´ve kept improvingthe balance and I think we can continue in this direction when we test atBrno at the end of the month.´

The Marlboro Yamaha Team has three days at Brno from July 29 to 31.The circuit is venue for August´s Czech GP, and is Biaggi´s all-timefavourite, the Roman has failed to win two races on his last seven visits.Both Max and Carlos will also be present at the Marlboro Masters Formula 3car race in Zandvoort, Holland on 4th and 5th August for a series ofdemonstration laps on their YZR500 race bikes. Also present will be RandyMamola on the Marlboro Yamaha two-seater.


Three weeks ago at Assen, when Max Biaggi won his second race of 2001, hesaid he was riding better than ever. Today´s awe-inspiring win at theSachsenring underlines that fact, Biaggi leading from the first corner tothe last and never putting a wheel wrong. Not only that, arch-rivalValentino Rossi crossed the line almost 22 seconds down on his compatriot,his series lead shrinking dramatically as a result.

´I´m so happy, there´s no better way to win a race than leading allthe way from pole,´ said the Italian star after his eighth 500 win. ´Ofcourse, I was ready to battle if anyone came with me but the bike set-up wasgood and we made the right tyre choice. I only had one big moment up thehill at the back of the track when I was trying to get away from Carlos andAbe. I wanted to push hard, then maintain the gap, and that´s what I did.

´I´m riding harder and harder at the moment because I want to winraces and close the points gap. I´ve been in this situation in the past. Theguy who is second must push so hard, while the guy in front always has a bitof a psychological advantage. This result gives me a lot of satisfaction, it´s great for the team to get a one-two, and I´d like to thank everyonewithin the team, they´re doing a wonderful job. Now I go to Brno for tests,then to the US for a two-week holiday, then back to Brno, when I´ll be readyfor the race.´


Carlos Checa chased team-mate Max Biaggi all the way but later in the racehis main concern was fending off Shinya Nakano and Norick Abe. Second fromthe first lap, the Marlboro Yamaha Team man came under pressure from Abe,who went ahead for nine laps during the mid-stages. Then when Checa wentback ahead, Nakano closed on the pair, dispensing with Abe two laps from theflag and getting to within four tenths of Checa at the finish. It was agreat race from Checa under serious pres

500cc, 2001

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