Sep 23, 2001
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This one from a press release issued by Yamaha Racing:<BR><BR>Yamaha Racing Communications<BR><BR>MotoGP reportRd 12 Spain<BR>CircuitValencia<BR>Circuit length4005 m<BR>Date23.09.2001<BR><BR>Carlos: last to fourth!<BR><BR>Carlos Checa produced a gutsy ride at a home MotoGP, held in Valencia, Spain, on September 23 -starting the wet 30-lap race from pit lane before sliding his way through the field to finish fourth. With rain falling prior to the start of the 500 race, followed by sunshine, tyre choice was going to be a gamble. With most riders opting for intermediates, slicks, or a combination of a intermediate front and slick rear the 22-bike field headed out on its warm-up lap.<BR><BR>Loris Capirossi (Honda) only managed to get to turn four before sliding off the track, remounting to make it onto the grid just before the start.<BR><BR>Checa was another to fall victim to the slippery conditions. But he was not so fortunate and was forced into the pits to change onto his slick shod number two machine - as a result he started the race from pit lane.<BR><BR>It was the bruised Capirossi who lead the charge into turn one, although the Italian never made it out the other side, crashing for the second time within as many minutes. This left Valentino Rossi (Honda) to pick up the pieces and he took the race lead ahead of Alex Barros (Honda), Shinya Nakano (Gauloises Yamaha Tech 3) and polesitter Max Biaggi (Marlboro Yamaha Team).<BR><BR>Haruchika Aoki (Honda) was the next to fall - also on the first lap. Yet still the falls continued when fourth placed José Luis Cardoso (Antena 3 Yamaha d'Antin) and fifth placed Noriyuki Haga (Red Bull Yamaha) simultaneously highsided while exiting the tight left-hander side-by-side.<BR><BR>Once the race finally settled it was Checa who was on the move, reeling in the leading trio of Sete Gibernau (Suzuki), Alex Barros (Honda) and Kenny Roberts (Suzuki) - the three eventually finishing in that order. By lap five Checa was already seventh and closing fast, but the initial deficit was just too great and the Spaniard had to be content with fourth. He was followed by the fifth placed Olivier Jacque and Tech 3 teammate Nakano (seventh). Norick Abe (Antena 3 Yamaha d'Antin) finished the day eighth after a bad start.<BR><BR>Meanwhile world championship points runner-up Biaggi overcame an unlucky tyre choice to finish tenth - one place ahead of his main rival Rossi.<BR><BR>Marlboro Yamaha Team<BR>Carlos Checa 4th: "Coming from last in those conditions was really scary. It was so slippery with the rear spinning up all the time. I did my best but lost the chance of a win on the warm-up lap. The track conditions were unbelievable, I just touched the throttle and the bike went away. Once we'd started the race I just concentrated on doing my best lap by lap, and that was all I could do. I tried to catch the guys up front and I was closing quite fast at some stages but during the last laps I realised it would be impossible to catch them, unless someone made a mistake."<BR><BR>Max Biaggi 10th: "There were a lot of guys falling off, it was like riding on ice. I had to stay upright, it was vital not to crash. When I saw Capirossi crash at the first turn I knew Rossi was my target, and when I saw I was closing on him I pushed harder. Even one point can make the difference, and anyway it's good for morale. Congratulations to Sete, he must've ridden a very brave race, though the guys up front aren't fighting for the championship so they could take more risks. It's a shame this is the last race in Europe. We now start a long journey with four 'flyaway' races and they can always be difficult. No matter, I'll keep trying right to<BR>the end."<BR><BR>Gauloises Yamaha Tech 3<BR>Olivier Jacque 5th: "The beginning of that race was like riding around on glass. We were going so slow that it felt like the bike just wanted to fall over, but we had to. Then the track started to dry out and I was able to begin working on a rhythm. It's about this point I started making up most of the time, but I think I left it a little too late.<BR><BR>"I tried to pull in the lead group but near the end I lost the front a few times, the cut slick couldn't handle the pace so I just settled for fifth. Even so I'm happy because this was my first wet race on the 500."<BR><BR>Shinya Nakano 7th: "I managed a great start, but I lost concentration when I saw Capirossi crash. By the time I'd gotten it all together again too many other riders had past me. Considering all of it I'm happy. I made a full race distance without any pain from my wrist. At least I now know I am back physically, and I'm looking forward to Japan."<BR><BR>Antena 3 Yamaha d'Antin<BR>Norick Abe 8th: "The start was so slippery. I needed a good start but all I did was wheel spin all the way down the straight. I couldn't believe it; I thought I was going backwards. Then as the race wore on things began to improve, the track was slowly drying and I was able to start making up for the ground I'd lost. That was until there was nearly a completely dry line. At this point of the race the front intermediate tyre I was using just began to push on every corner."<BR><BR>José Luis Cardoso DNF: "I was racing well, but it only lasted for two laps! I think I need to do that for a little bit longer if I want to get better results. I managed a great start and the bike felt good, even with slicks on. When Haga came through to make the pass I tried to get off the turn a little harder and the back just came around on me. We didn't touch but I think the same happened to him."<BR><BR>Red Bull Yamaha WCM<BR>Garry McCoy 12th: "I had a huge slide on the fifth lap and nearly crashed. Luckily I managed to save it but the foot peg swung around and dug into my right leg. The pain was unbelievable, and then my leg felt numb. I couldn't put my weight on it to push the bike through the right-handers.<BR><BR>"I think I started the day with a good setup. About the only thing I'd change would have been to run a backed off dry setup rather than a full wet setup."<BR><BR>Noriyuki Haga DNF: "It was slippery, but I was feeling good out there. I like those conditions because they suit me for some reason. I saw the gap that Cardoso had left so I took it. Only problem was that I'd gotten on the gas a little too hard and paid the price."<BR><BR><BR><BR>Matsudo slides into sixth<BR><BR>Naoki Matsudo (Petronas Sprinta Yamaha TVK) had a perfect start to the 12th MotoGP 250 race of the year, held in Valencia, Spain, on September 23 -launching off his eighth placed grid position to be fourth by the end of the first lap, and as high as third before rain interrupted proceedings. The dry restart led to the results being decided on aggregate times, which saw him finish sixth overall.<BR><BR>In the opening leg Matsudo was running fifth on lap four when third-placed Marco Melandri (Aprilia) and fourth-placed Fonsi Nieto (Aprilia) touched -Melandri coming off the unluckiest and exiting the race with a spectacular highside. The incident allowed Matsudo to slip past Nieto before the Spaniard fought back.<BR><BR>Then with 17 laps remaining the race was red flagged due to rain causing three riders to crash out - Alex Debon (Aprilia), Randy de Puniet (Aprilia) and Shahrol Yuzy (Petronas Sprinta Yamaha TVK). The latter making the restart to finish the day 12th on aggregate times.<BR><BR>Championship leader Daijiro Katoh (Honda) produced yet another dominating performance to cross the line ahead of Tetsuya Harada (Aprilia) and Nieto, who filled the final podium spot.<BR><BR>Petronas Sprinta Yamaha TVK<BR>Naoki Matsudo 6th: "That was a tough race. The conditions changing like that and forcing the race to stop only disrupted the rhythm I had at the beginning. Even so I managed to put in a performance I'm happy with in the second leg. I had a few moments out there because the track seemed a little slipperier today than yesterday, but we survived."<BR><BR>Shahrol Yuzy 12th: "I made a great start to be well in the top ten on the first few laps. I was feeling very good on the bike and things were going to plan. I noticed the drops on my visor, but it didn't seem like it was raining that hard that I need to worry too much about it. The next thing I knew I'd lost the front. I guess I'm lucky, though, that I managed to make the restart."