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Randy Mamola reflects on the penultimate race in the 2001 500cc series

Randy Mamola reflects on the penultimate race in the 2001 500cc series

Another great weekend for Valentino Rossi in a race which was not without incident. Max Biaggi seemed to get into the hairpin a little too deep on the brakes and the over head camera shot showed Kenny Roberts being in the right place at the wrong time. Max just had to keep it straight and hope that Kenny would stay out of the way but they both went down. Max broke the handlebar of his Yamaha and went straight over to Kenny and apologised, which was accepted. It was just one of those things.

Kenny led the race from the beginning for a couple of laps but was thenbeing passed and was down in third place with a line of riders behind him ready to try and make a move. Unfortunately, he got taken out and we will never get to know where the Suzuki or Max´s Yamaha would have finished in the race.It was also a bad day for Kenny´s younger brother Kurtis who crashed the Proton KR machine early in the race when he lost the front end. It was a difficult weekend for him because he had very little practice but he was trying very hard out there running with the twins of West and Aoki at the beginning of the race. Unfortunatily for the Malaysian backed Proton team both bikes failed to finish the race.

Once Valentino had a got away it was a great battle for the podium and especially in the last couple of laps between Loris Capirossi, Garry McCoy and Shinya Nakano. Norick Abe was also in that battle for the podium but he got drawn into the last corner pretty deep by Loris. He opened up the gas just a bit sooner than he normally did, to try and go back underneath him and he lost the front end and went down. To his credit he picked the bike up and finally finished 13th.

Behind them there was another group of riders, Tohru Ukawa, Alex Criville, Alex Barros and Sete Gibernau running together. They were running very similar times but just a little bit off the pace from the leaders. Noriyuki Haga had a lonely race in ninth place in front of Carlos Checa who has not found his form for some time now. The last three races have been very difficult for Carlos. Last week he was complaining about tyres and this week about chatter. Carlos might just be running out of time with excuses because with that bike and the backing of the team he has, he should be much higher up that list. When a rider gets into a slump he´s often running round in circles chasing his tale trying to get out of it. Carlos finishing in tenth place, being pushed by a young rider Jose Luis Cardoso on a Yamaha which is not the same as his, means that he needs to turn to himself and dig deep especially in that last race. To come out fightinglike we now that he can.Young Australian Brendan Clarke had a good ride into 14th place beating histeam-mate Leon Haslam .I´m looking forward to that last race in Brazil and there are lots of stories up in the air on who will be where next season. The latest rumour I head is that the Tech 3 Yamaha team will run a test team next year headed by Gillles Bigot who was the crew chief of Alex Criville. The test rider would be Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli.

The other strong rumour, and it´s just a rumour, is that Noriyuki Haga may join Norick Abe in the Antena 3 d´Antin Yamaha team. I think Haga should remain in MotoGP and he has put in some good races towards the end of the season. He seems to be fighting harder but still lack a little bit of confidence.

The man that remains a mystery is Alex Criville. There still seems to be a seat for him at Aprilia but so far nothing has happened.We will find out if Valentino can win his 11th race of the year in Brazil and lets hope all those other guys get in the mix for the final grand prix of the year.

500cc, 2001

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