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The Marlboro Yamaha Team came to Brno this weekend hopeful of keeping theirmomentum rolling and taking Max Biaggi another step closer to WorldChampionship leader Valentino Rossi (Honda). But although Biaggi started therace from pole position and in high hopes, he slid out of the lead whilejust ahead of his Italian rival, remounting to finish tenth. Team-mateCarlos Checa also had a troubled day, coming home seventh.

´That was a real disappointment,´ said Marlboro Yamaha Team manager GeoffCrust. ´We thought we´d done everything just right. We had a great testsession here at the end of July, Max did an incredible lap in qualifying andtried all the tyres to race distance. In the race he was running the kind ofpace we expected and he looked comfortable just knocking off the laps. Nowwe´ll sit down and try and work out what exactly happened. Carlos´ pace wasn´t as fast as we expected. He got in the wrong group and if you get stuck inthe wrong group here it can cost you a second a lap.´


Max Biaggi led the first half of this afternoon´s crucial Czech GP, keepingarch-rival Valentino Rossi (Honda) at bay until just after half-distance,when the Marlboro Yamaha Team man slid to earth as he rode through turnthree. Biaggi bravely remounted his scarred YZR, rejoining the race in 11thto finish tenth. But the fall has cost him dear; with six races to go he nowlags 29 points behind Rossi.

Biaggi had ridden a perfect weekend until that fateful moment on lap 13,taking pole with the fastest-ever official Brno lap and leading from laptwo. Both men were riding the outer limits in stifling 34-degree heat,lapping within the track record. Indeed today´s race time was an astounding30 seconds quicker than last year, and Biaggi´s time was still faster thanhis winning 2000 ride!

´At least I managed to get the bike going to score a few points,´ saidBiaggi, who had won six of his previous seven races here. ´But it´s a realshame because this race could´ve been so good for us. I was pushing reallyhard and just lost the front, even though I hadn´t had any earlier warnings.It´s the kind of thing that can happen when you´re riding on the limit. Ididn´t have any tactics, other than trying to run my own race becausepassing isn´t always easy if you give up the lead. There´s still six racesto go, so we´ve got to keep looking ahead and get back up front.´


Like team-mate Max Biaggi, Carlos Checa had strong hopes of a good finishtoday. The Marlboro Yamaha Team man had run well during qualifying but aminor change to the performance of his YZR500 caused him problems during therace.

´As usual we changed some engine parts for the race and the engine wassharper than usual at the bottom of the rev range,´ said Checa who finishedseventh after spending the early stages in an entertaining race for fifth.

´It wasn´t as soft as it usually is when I started to get on the throttle,which meant I couldn´t slide the rear smoothly. The tyre would slide andthen start chattering, so all I could do was wait until the bike was almostupright before I got on the throttle, and that´s not a fast way to ride.´

500cc, 2001

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