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Olivier Jacque and Shinya Nakano reminisce on the photo finish for last season´s 250 title

Olivier Jacque and Shinya Nakano reminisce on the photo finish for last season´s 250 title

The Phillip Island race last year was the 16th and final race of the 2000 season, and was witness to the deciding race of the 250 Championship. Olivier Jacque beat Shinya Nakano into first place by just 0.014 seconds and snatched the win and the title from under the Japanese rider´s nose as they rode together for the Chesterfield Tech3 team. reminisced with the two Gauloises Tech3 Yamaha riders about last year´s race:

MGP: What overriding memories do you have of Phillip Island last year?

SN: Not good ones really as it was where I lost the World Championship, Olivier pipped me just as we reached the finish line. It was a good education for me though. I went there leading the championship race, so I was confident, maybe a bit too much? There was a lot of pressure, and perhaps I have learnt how I should control that a bit better.

OJ: For me, I have great memories of course. Winning the race meant winning the Championship and I still think about it now. I have so many pictures in my head, not just of last year, but every other time we´ve been there when there´s been a good race and a good battle. I remember being just a little bit in front of Shinya, and I saw a flash and guessed it was the finish line, which is when I began celebrating. But then after a few metres I wasn´t so sure, so had to wait until I heard from the mechanics on the walkie-talkie. It was exactly how the season was with Shinya, just like that all season.

MGP: How did it affect the relationship between you, as team-mates?

OJ: I still have a good relationship with Shinya, he´s a good guy and we have some fun together.

SN: Yes, it has not changed at all. Of course I lost the World Championship to him, but we are friends, when we are riding we may be rivals, but outside, I think we are good friends. I like him, he´s older than me, and I learn a lot from him.

OJ: We don´t speak so much about last season, we have another challenge now, and we are trying to work together and improve in this new class. I think we are a closer team now, the mechanics are more confident and we are all concentrated towards a common goal.

MGP: What do you think of the Phillip Island track?

SN: I love it because it´s high speed and such a nice location.

OJ: We have been going to Phillip Island for a few years now, and I love the place, it´s a track that really suits me. It´s great to have the sea by the track and the views are amazing. It is so fast, and that´s what I like.

MGP: This season has seen Shinya in the ascendancy; it´s been a good learning curve for you both, hasn´t it?

SN: Obviously, Olivier crashed at the beginning of the year and allowed me to put in more kilometres, and my hope is that next year we will be fighting it out for the top spots once again, just like last year.

OJ: The problem has been that we haven´t had the chance to put what Shinya learnt early on into my set-up because we work in a different way. When I restarted my season we did try and use his set-up, which was working well for him, but we are working now like we did in 250 again now. We speak together, and exchange notes, but that´s about it.

MGP: Will last year´s race be playing on your mind at all during the weekend?

SN: (laughs) I don´t think so. When I arrived, perhaps I thought about it, I remember what happened, but I think that it won´t be too much of a problem for me! I hope not!

OJ: I don´t know really. I think it´s over now, I´m thinking about the 500cc now, and about the new class next year.

MGP: Regarding next year when you will ride again as the Tech3 team, what are your thoughts?

OJ: It´s good that we are together again next season for continuity´s sake. I can´t really say though whether the four-strokes will be competitive, I haven´t tested one, and at the moment, I don´t want to either. I want to concentrate on the 500 bike, as that is what I will ride next year.

500cc, 2001, Shinya Nakano

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