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Jun 16, 2002

Updated Post: Rossi Extends Point Lead With Fifth Win Of MotoGP Season At Catalunya, Roberts 7th, Hopkins 10th

Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>Catalunya MotoGP Race Results:<BR><BR>1. Valentino Rossi, Honda RC211V, 25 laps, 44:20.679<BR>2. Tohru Ukawa, Honda RC211V, -0.880 second<BR>3. Carlos Checa, Yamaha YZR-M1, -8.531 seconds<BR>4. Max Biaggi, Yamaha YZR-M1, -11.918 seconds<BR>5. Alex Barros, Honda NSR500, -22.382 seconds<BR>6. Loris Capirossi, Honda NSR500, -30.096 seconds<BR>7. Kenny Roberts, Suzuki GSV-R, -31.525 seconds<BR>8. Daijiro Kato, Honda NSR500, -33.912 seconds<BR>9. Olivier Jacque, Yamaha YZR500, -36.847 seconds<BR>10. John Hopkins, Yamaha YZR500, -51.580 seconds<BR>11. Akira Ryo, Suzuki GSV-R, -53.303 seconds<BR>12. Jeremy McWilliams, Proton KR3, -57.585 seconds<BR>13. Tetsuya Harada, Honda NSR500, -61.823 seconds<BR>14. Regis Laconi, Aprilia RS3, -63.002 seconds<BR>15. Pere Riba, Yamaha YZR500, -64.723 seconds<BR>16. Norick Abe, Yamaha YZR500, -2 laps, crash<BR>17. Alex Hofmann, Yamaha YZR500, -1 lap, DNF, mechanical<BR>18. Sete Gibernau, Suzuki GSV-R, -19 laps, DNF, crash<BR>19. Nobuatsu Aoki, Proton KR3, -23 laps, DNF, crash<BR>20. Jurgen vd Goorbergh, Honda NSR500, -25 laps, DNF, crash<BR>21. Shinya Nakano, Yamaha YZR500, -25 laps, DNF, crash<BR><BR><BR>Provisional MotoGP World Championship Point Standings:<BR><BR>1. Rossi, 145<BR>2. Ukawa, 97 <BR>3. Capirossi, 65<BR>4. TIE, Biaggi/Checa, 56 <BR>6. Abe, 52 <BR>7. Barros, 51 <BR>8. Kato, 47<BR>9. Jacque, 29<BR>10. TIE, Roberts/Aoki/Laconi, 28<BR>13. Ryo, 25<BR>14. TIE, Hopkins/Harada, 24<BR>16. Nakano, 16<BR>17. Shinichi Itoh, 13<BR>18. Goorbergh, 12<BR>19. Gibernau, 11<BR>20. McWilliams, 10<BR>21. Garry McCoy, 7 <BR>22. Jean Michel Bayle, 5<BR>23. Riba, 4<BR><BR><BR>More, from a Yamaha press release:<BR><BR>Checa chalks up a podium on home turf<BR><BR>Round:6 - Catalunya MotoGP<BR>Circuit: Catalunya<BR>Date:16 June 2002<BR>Crowd:80000<BR>Temp:30°C<BR>Weather: Sunny<BR><BR>Carlos Checa put in a crowd-pleasing performance on the Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR-M1 to take his first podium result aboard the all-new four-stroke machine. And the location for his determined third place couldn't have been more appropriate with his hometown arena, the Catalunya circuit, hosting the sixth round of the MotoGP championship on June 16. After a strong start the Spaniard slid past early race leader Torhu Ukawa (Honda) on lap one and remained in control until the defending MotoGP World Champion, Valentino Rossi (Honda), powered by. <BR><BR>The Italian made his move at the end of the main straight, just after half race distance, and went on to win the race by a mere 0.880 seconds. On lap 17 Ukawa also slipped by the No. 7 YZR-M1 in similar fashion to follow his teammate across the line for a one two finish.<BR><BR>Max Biaggi (Marlboro Yamaha Team) completed the four-stroke foursome, which demolished the rest of the MotoGP field, to end the day three seconds adrift of his teammate and 12 seconds ahead of the first two-stroke challenger, Alex Barros (Honda). <BR><BR>Olivier Jacque (Gauloises Yamaha Tech 3) survived a four-bike pile-up on the opening lap to claim ninth, just ahead of Red Bull Yamaha WCM teenage sensation John Hopkins. The Frenchman, who felt he might have gone into the turn "a little too hot", had no idea of the scale of the incident until he saw the replay after the race. Abe was the first of three to crash out, with Shinya Nakano (Gauloises Yamaha Tech 3) and Jurgen vd Goorbergh (Honda) completing the unlucky list. <BR><BR>Abe recovered, however, and returned to the pits for repairs, rejoining the race two laps down to finish 16th behind his Antena 3 Yamaha d'Antin teammate Pere Riba. <BR><BR>Marlboro Yamaha Team<BR><BR>Carlos Checa 3rd: "That was hard work, the bike was working well and I was able to run a good pace. I never had a good feeling here with the 500, but this bike is different and we're making good progress, so thanks to all the team, my engineers and my mechanics. It's not been easy though, because I crashed yesterday afternoon and the bike wasn't so good this morning, so we had to change some settings. In the race I was able to lead for a long time, and when Ukawa came by I could pass him again. But when Rossi went ahead I couldn't keep the pace, it was too risky. I didn't have enough traction, especially on the throttle, so we must focus on that to improve." <BR><BR>Max Biaggi 4th: "You have big hopes when you get pole position. I managed to make a good start but I quickly realised that it was going to be a tough race. I was racing my second bike because we had a problem with my number-one machine in morning warm-up. In the race the bike didn't feel so good in chassis or engine performance, so we effectively lost all the hard work we'd done in practice and qualifying. I did the best I could in the circumstances, and congratulations to Carlos, he rode a great race." <BR><BR>YZR-M1 Project Leader, Ichiro Yoda: "Overall, not such a bad weekend. Max got pole position yesterday and our bikes seemed good in the race until half distance. At Mugello Carlos was passed easily on the straight but the speed difference didn't seem so big here, though we still need to work on acceleration. Our lap times weren't so good after half distance, however, so I think we need to work on machine set-up to improve tyre endurance." <BR><BR>Gauloises Yamaha Tech 3<BR><BR>Olivier Jacque 9th: "On the first lap I think I may have come into turn four a little too hot and affected Norick Abe's line. It was a racing incident but obviously I'm very sorry for those riders it may have caused problems for, especially my teammate. After that Katoh caught me and I tried to stay with him, but eventually I had to let him go." <BR><BR>Shinya Nakano DNF: "Somebody hit Abe on the first lap and he bounced into me, forcing me into Jurgen. I was in a sandwich and had nowhere to go. I hurt my left foot in the crash, but we can't see anything on the x-ray to indicate if it is broken or not. Doctor Costa thinks there may be a small crack in the bone but we'll have to wait and see. I am clearly disappointed, but that's racing." <BR><BR>Red Bull Yamaha WCM<BR><BR>John Hopkins 9th: "It's my best finish yet! I met my pre-race expectation, which is great. I was lucky, though, as I was nearly caught up in that three-bike crash on the first lap. But once I got past that I put my head down and went for consistency. I ended up in a battle with Ryo and Katoh for a while, and then Laconi. It was great to ride with those four-strokes, they're so fast on the straights that the only way I could get past was to dive bomb them into the turns." <BR><BR>Alex Hofmann DNF: "That was a tough introduction into the MotoGP championship! It's a serious class, they're hard-edged bikes and the competition is unbelievable. I felt good at the start, and I managed to dice with Harada and Riba, but I was making small mistakes. I'm sure a little more time to learn how to set-up the bike would help a lot. With that in mind I'm lucky that I'll be riding in Assen; I like the track and I don't think it'll be as hard to ride fast on as Catalunya was." <BR><BR>Antena 3 Yamaha d'Antin<BR><BR>Pere Riba 15th: "I need to learn to push myself harder during practice to get a better set-up and a faster race pace. Today I was able to start with the group, but I just can't seem to stay with them over the race distance." <BR><BR><BR>Norick Abe 16th: "After that first lap crash I managed to get going again and rode back to the pits so the team could fix the bike. I wanted to get some points; you just don't know what can happen in the race to help you. Since I knew I couldn't catch anybody it was difficult to stay focused and to push hard, all I could think about was the chequered flag.<BR><BR><BR>More, from Red Bull Yamaha:<BR><BR>HOPKINS CRACKS THE TOP 10<BR><BR>John Hopkins' 2002 Season has been nothing short of remarkable. This outstanding young American, who has raced in only six grands prix today achieved his best finish of the season and in the process has reached his first MotoGP goal, of finishing in the Top Ten. Hopkins is one of only 4 MotoGP riders to have scored points in each round of the 2002 Season.<BR><BR>Team-mate to Hopkins this weekend, German newcomer to the MotoGP class, Alex Hofmann retired from the race today on the last lap after experiencing some engine trouble. This morning, after the warm-up, Team Manager Peter Clifford invited Hofmann to ride the Red Bull Yamaha at Assen in the Dutch TT to replace the recovering Garry McCoy. <BR><BR>JOHN HOPKINS - 10th<BR><BR>World Championship Classification - 15th with 24 points<BR><BR>"This is really good, I'm very happy. I qualified better than I expected and I finished the race today in 10th, which is what I have been aiming for since the beginning of the Season. So I have reached my first goal by race 6. <BR><BR>"I got a okay start and nearly got taken out by the crash in the opening lap; I really had to slow down to avoid it. So a few guys passed me there, but I fought my way back. Laconi, Ryo, McWilliams and I were racing close for a while, back and forth and I ended up leading the pack of four in the last half of the race, making my passes hard under brakes." <BR><BR>Colin Davies (Race Engineer - John Hopkins)<BR>"We have reached another target today with John finishing 10th. He keeps on making progress at each race and we are very happy with this. "<BR><BR>ALEX HOFMANN - Retired<BR>"Well it was not too bad to begin with and I set my sights on riding at Harada's speed but I was not able to stay with him. I went on to battle with Riba in the early part of the race passing back and forth but in the last half of the race I was basically racing alone. On the last lap something happened to the bike, it stopped at the end of the straight on the last lap, I'm not sure what happened to it. So I did not finish the race, and had to retire because of the bike. It was a hard day for me.<BR><BR>"About riding in Assen - This is fantastic news for me, Its perfect. It¹s a good chance for me again and Assen is one of my favourite tracks. Peter Clifford spoke to me after practice this morning and offered me the chance to ride again at the next GP, I'm very happy about this. I tested two weeks ago for one day at Assen on the Red Bull Yamaha, so I am comfortable with the new layout. This is perfect, a really fantastic opportunity."<BR><BR>Christophe Bourguignon (Race Engineer - Alex Hofmann)<BR>"He did a good job today considering this is his first race on a 500 and he was less than a second a lap down on John Hopkins so we are pleased with this. Alex has tested on the bike at Assen so we look forward to racing there."<BR><BR>Peter Clifford - Team Manager<BR>"Another good ride from John today. Obviously he might of done better still if had not been caught up early on in the Nakano, Vd Goorbergh crash. He did a brilliant job in avoiding that situation. Alex put in a good, solid performance and it will be good to see what he can do with a few more kilometres under his belt."<BR><BR><BR>More, from Telefonica Movistar Suzuki:<BR><BR>RYO OPENS WITH ELEVENTH <BR><BR>2002 MotoGP Championship - Round 6, Catalunya, Spain, June 16, 2002. <BR><BR>All Japan Superbike Champion, Akira Ryo finished his first ever race outside of Japan with a determined 11th place at the Catalunya MotoGP here today. <BR><BR>Ryo impressed many observers with his efforts to find a good race set-up for his Suzuki GSV-R machine, adjusting to unfamiliar conditions and new Michelin tyres in place of the Dunlops he has used in all previous tests and races. <BR><BR>Starting from 17th place on the grid, Ryo fought through the field to 12th place before inheriting an extra position when Telefonica MoviStar Suzuki rider Sete Gibernau crashed unhurt on the sixth of 25 laps when lying in fifth position. Further progress through the field proved impossible, but Ryo was relieved to add five more points to the 20 he scored at this year's first MotoGP race at Suzuka, taking him to 13th place in the series standings. <BR><BR>The latest specification GSV-R machines used by Ryo and Telefonica MoviStar Suzuki riders Sete Gibernau and Kenny Roberts have all benefitted from new engine components and electrical management systems, and Gibernau‘s third place on the grid shows that the continuing development programme is heading in the right direction. Ryo's machine was identical to Roberts' and Gibernau's GSV-R's, except that he raced in the Suzuki factory blue and white colours, rather than the Telefonica MoviStar livery. <BR><BR>Akira Ryo – "I am disappointed not to have finished in a higher position today, but I really enjoyed the race and the GSV-R worked really well after I found a good race setting in this morning's free practice. I made a good start, but then I dropped back when I had to avoid a big crash involving Abe, Nakano and Van der Goorberg. Then I had a big slide and a few riders came past,but I managed to pick my way back through, but could not close the gap on John Hopkins. For the next round in Assen I should have a second machine, so I will be able to try more settings in the qualifying sessions. The important thing is that we are continuing to move forward with the GSV-R development programme and that we are finding new race settings and data." <BR><BR>Telefonica MoviStar Suzuki rider Kenny Roberts took his GSV-R to seventh place in the race which was won by Valantino Rossi (Honda) from Toru Ukawa (Honda) and Carlos Checa (Yamaha). <BR><BR><BR>More, from Aprilia:<BR><BR>Tough day for Régis Laconi, 14th at Catalunya<BR><BR>Everything suggested this would be a tough race for Régis Laconi and indeed it was, despite the good lap time made by the official Aprilia rider during this morning's warm-up: 1:45.968, faster than in qualifying. Indeed, in the early hours of the morning, the track was not nearly as hot as it became later on during the race. Before the track reached its peak temperature, Régis did not have the problems of grip that pestered him during the race. He rose to tenth place in the opening laps but then his tyres started deteriorating rapidly and loss of grip made the bike hard to handle. The high tarmac temperatures really did put his tyres to the test. Even so, Régis Laconi fought like a lion and made 14th place, crossing the finishing line in a state of total exhaustion. Everything had been drained out of him, even physically.<BR><BR>Régis's personal record continues to rise: today he completed his 30th consecutive GP race in the points zone.<BR><BR># 55 Regis Laconi – (MS APRILIA RACING) – 14th<BR>"After just three laps, the grip was gone: the rear end was sliding around and, halfway through the race, the front tyre was just about done in. The bike became really hard to handle and, what with the heat and all, I started to feel totally washed out. It was hard to force myself to go on, not just from a psychological point of view (not being able to ride the bike as you'd like is not that easy to accept) but also physically: I simply collapsed from dehydration."<BR><BR>