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Marlboro Yamaha blow hot and cold on Windy Island

Marlboro Yamaha blow hot and cold on Windy Island

Marlboro Yamaha Team men Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa had vividly contrastingdays at Phillip Island today, finishing second and 16th in anotherbreathtaking Australian GP. Biaggi was one of the stars of a massive battlefor victory while Checa struggled with a mystery problem in bright butblustery conditions.

´We didn´t win but it was so close,´ said Marlboro Yamaha Teamdirector Hiroya Atsumi. ´Max did a great job, but most of all I´m happy hedidn´t crash, that´s my first priority at the moment. His bike looked not sobad and he had a good run. Now we go to Sepang where we´ll try again to win.We are studying what was wrong with Carlos´ bike. We were trying a slightchange of direction with his set-up but that worked well in practice and wedidn´t change anything for the race.´

The pair both rode milestone races today, Biaggi contesting his 60th500 GP (he rode his first 500 race at Suzuka ´98) and Checa riding his 90th500 GP (he made his 500 GP debut at Donington ´95).

BIAGGI SECOND BY 0.013 SECONDSMax Biaggi came within one hundredth of a second of winning his fourth GP of2001 today. Starting from pole position the Marlboro Yamaha Team star wasengaged in a thrilling high-speed brawl with up to five other riders. He ledon three occasions, making a big break on lap 18, only to almost fall at the200kmh turn one, losing the 0.467 second advantage he´d fought so hard togain. Valentino Rossi (Honda) came by a few laps later only for Biaggi toretake the lead with three laps to go. On the final lap Rossi came by againand though Biaggi tried to draft past on the run to the finish line, hemissed out by a fraction.

´I tried everything and I think I can be proud of that race, I was onthe limit from the first lap to the last,´ said Biaggi who won a similarlyfrantic battle here last year. ´I was trying for the best result becauseeven if the title was pretty much over, a real fighter doesn´t give in untilit is over. When I got the lead for the second time I tried to do a few veryfast laps to break away, but I came so close to falling at turn one. I had abig front slide with smoke coming from the tyre!

´When Rossi got me the last time, I tried to use more corner speedthrough the last turn so I could overtake him on the line but I couldn´tquite do it. The race was fantastic to watch when I wasn´t in the lead -riders taking each others´ lines, touching each other, and lots of smoke.Dangerous, but graceful!´


Carlos Checa started this afternoon´s Australian GP from the second row ofthe grid and confident of a strong ride amongst the leading pack. But thingsdidn´t turn out that way for the Marlboro Yamaha Team man. From the veryearliest stages he struggled with feedback from the rear of his YZR500 andwas consigned to battling for the final world point with outgoing WorldChampion Kenny Roberts (Suzuki).

´I don´t know what happened, but I wasn´t getting any feedback fromthe rear, and it wasn´t just the tyre,´ said the Spaniard. ´I was runningwide into the corners and couldn´t open the gas on the way out. I tried allthe way to the finish but there was no way I could race properly. Theconditions changed for the race but not that much, so we must check to findout exactly what happened.´

500cc, 2001

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