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Repsol YPF Honda

Repsol YPF Honda

Today´s race was one of the most complicated ones of the season for the 500 riders. The short, but heavy rain shower that came down on the Ricardo Tormo circuit just after the end of the 250 race, turned the tyre choice for the 500 teams into a lottery. After the start, many crashes broke the field of riders up, relegating Alex Crivillé and Tohru Ukawa to nineth and tenth place after one lap. Whereas Ukawa, who was slowed down by the incidents of the other riders, took sixth position at the end of the race, Crivillé caught up rapidly and made up positions, and even took second place at the rear wheel of Rossi. But when drawn into a fight for second place with Gibernau, Crivillé got on a damp section of the track and crashed. In the end, Sete Gibernau conquered his first victory in the 500 cc World Championship.

Alex Criville: ´I remained very calm and collected at the start of the race, because I know these sort of races, and I didn´t want to be within a crash scene in the first corners. When the track dried up halfway through the race, I upped the pace and I saw that I got closer to the front runners of the race. When I reached them, I overtook Sete, but he re-passed me again, and this game went on for a while. Then when we got close to Rossi, Sete took the inside line braking into a lefthand corner, and I had to leave some space and run a bit wide, but got onto a damp section and couldn´t avoid a crash. I could have won this race, I made a good tyre choice, and I caught up with the leading group easily.´

Tohru Ukawa: ´I think that today I did the worst first lap of my life. I started very poorly, and when I arrived at the first corner, Capirossi and then Cardoso crashed. I had to brake in order to avoid hitting them, and several other riders got past me. On the second corner of the first lap, the same thing happened all over again with Haga and Aoki, which definitely opened up a huge gap between the front runners and the group I was in. From that moment on, I tried to maintain a constant pace, and I was able to recover some positions. It was a very difficult race, the track was extremely slippery, and up to mid-race, when the track finally dried up, I couldn’t ride safely at all. Today, the track dried up a bit late, it’s a real shame.´

500cc, 2001

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