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Mick Doohan arrives at Estoril in time for the Grande Premio Marlboro de Portugal

Mick Doohan arrives at Estoril in time for the Grande Premio Marlboro de Portugal

I never raced at the Estoril circuit but I had a lap around it today in a car and it looks like it could be a lot of fun. It´s hard to tell exactly from a car but it seems like it could be a little tight for a 500 although they have to race on all types of different racetracks and I don´t think it´s any tighter than the Sachsenring for example.

Valentino Rossi looked very strong in qualifying but Max Biaggi came up and stuck it on pole so it will be interesting to see how things will pan out in the race. Capirossi is also there and you never quite know what he´s going to do, but he´s not been as consistent in the races as he has in qualifying and for me it´s going to be a straight race between Max and Valentino again.

There´s no doubt in my mind that Max will be looking to regain some of the points he lost in the last race at Brno and I think we´ll see him trying to escape as early as possible. His most difficult task will be to knock some of the confidence out of Valentino because that is one of the most important factors in racing and at the moment Valentino is full of it. His pole lap seemed to be just that: one lap, and he will possibly have to look to use the warm-up to get a good race setting and improve the consistency of the lap times if he is going to get in front of Valentino and hold on.

If it comes down to that I think Valentino has two options to win the race. As long as he gets a good start, which sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn´t, he can hang behind Max and put him under pressure like he did in Brno. Alternatively, he can simply make an early pass, get into his own rhythm and disappear.

500cc, 2001

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