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Mick Doohan, twice a winner at the Nelson Piquet circuit, gives his views ahead of the last ever 500cc race

Mick Doohan, twice a winner at the Nelson Piquet circuit, gives his views ahead of the last ever 500cc race

I remember fondly my two wins at the Nelson Piquet circuit and I have to say that it is a track which I like a very much even though the conditions aren´t ideal. My victory in 1996 was one of the most memorable of my career, when I recovered from an off-track excursion to beat Alex Criville and Norick Abe. It is a challenging circuit which is quite bumpy and can often be dirty. A good rider can make the difference though because he knows how to deal with these conditions and whoever adapts best in tomorrow´s race will possess a huge advantage.

Tohru Ukawa took pole position and I don´t see why he shouldn´t be fighting for victory in the race. I don´t think he has really lived up to expectations this year and he will be hoping to prove both to himself and to Honda that he can cut it next year in the MotoGP class. Speaking of which, this is officially the last 500cc race ever but I don´t think too much should be made of that. There will be plenty of 500 machines still around next year and with the exception of the novelty of a few new 4 strokes I don´t think the fans will really notice the difference until 2003. Despite the changes it will always be the same series - only better!

Because it is the last race of the season you never know who might pull a winning performance out of the bag. Many riders still have a point to prove this season and they will all be wanting to sign off on a high note. However, my head says that you can never bet against Valentino Rossi. He wasn´t too consistent in qualifying today but he was only 0.4 seconds off pole and I´m sure he will have his race set-up well sorted out for tomorrow. He won here last year and I expect him to be on top of the podium again this time around.

Tags:
500cc, 2001

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