Results 500cc Spanish GP

Colin MacKellar
by Colin MacKellar
Yes, of course he won. But second and third places went to riders you might be less likely to choose for a top 3 finish.....

2001 Spanish GRAND PRIXTRACK: JerezDATE: 6 May 2001WEATHER: Warm, cloudy 500cc Race Results (27 laps)------------------Pos No. Rider Nat Bike Time/Diff--- --- ----- --- ---- ---------1 46 Rossi Ita Hon 47'15.1262 6 Abe Jpn Yam 2.3073 1 Criville Spa Hon 2.8454 56 Nakano Jpn Yam 4.1575 11 Ukawa Jpn Hon 5.9326 4 Barros Bra Hon 7.5777 1 Roberts USA Suz 14.4598 65 Capirossi Ita Hon 18.9709 5 McCoy Aus Yam 19.72510 15 Gibernau Spa Suz 20.23911 3 Biaggi Ita Yam 20.52112 41 Haga Jpn Yam 20.83113 17 v.d. Goorbergh Hol Proton 42.83814 7 Checa Spa Yam 45.53015 14 West Aus Hon(2) 45.848World Championship==================JPN RSA SPA1 Rossi 75 25 25 252 Abe 44 13 11 203 Nakano 37 11 13 134 Capirossi 36 8 20 85 Criville 33 7 10 166 Biaggi 29 16 8 57 McCoy 27 20 - 78 Ukawa 27 - 16 119 Barros 27 10 7 1010 Roberts 27 9 9 9 Rossi as usualOnly Abe and Capirossi close to Rossi

Three out of three is the enviable record of Valentino Rossi (Nastro Azzurro Honda) for the start of this season and the way he's riding there is a strong chance he'll win all of the GPs this year. No-one is really in his class, although Norik Abe (Antena 3 D'Antin Yamaha) kept him company for two thirds of the race and initially it looked like Loris Capirossi (West Honda Pons), might be able to mix it with the leaders. Capirossi disappeared from the leader board on lap 14, taking to the gravel trap and loosing places and critical seconds to recover. From that moment, it was just the Italian and the Japanese fighting for the win, although it just wasn't a fight. Rossi followed Abe around for a few laps, before dialing in on lap 20 and setting a few blistering laps to pull out a big lead to which Abe had no response. Alex Criville (Repsol Honda) got the home crowd excited by pulling through from mid-field to claim and hold third place to the flag. His joy at taking third place just emphasized the feeling that he and the Repsol Hondas are a spent force in this class. Without a couple of wins this season, Criville won't be back for next.

Rossi had set pole position early in the second training session, almost half a second quicker than Capirossi in second. He was initially swallowed up by Abe and Shinya Nakano (Gauloises Tech3 Yamaha) in the sprint to the first corner, but was in the lead, and going away, by the third turn. It looked as if he would run away from the field, but found it difficult to run quick laps with a full tank and both Abe and Capirossi were able to match his pace. There was a large group of riders battling for 4th. place, including Nakano, Roberts (Movistar Suzuki), Barros (West Pons Honda) and Biaggi (Marlboro Yamaha). For the first two laps, they had surprising company in the form of Jurgen van der Goorbergh (Team KR Proton), who held 4th. place for the first lap, before dropping back down the field, unable to match the pace on a track that could be considered suitable for the 3-cylinder machine.

Not much happened until lap 14, when Rossi squeezed past Abe, and Capirossi ran off the track. At exactly the same spot on the same lap, Biaggi also went dirtbiking, leading to speculation that there was something on the surface at that corner of the track. . Neither rider was able to come back from their off-track excursion, with Biaggi particularly disappointed as he had been last year's pole position holder, although he had not started the race after colliding with another rider on the warm-up lap. Abe moved past Rossi again a couple of laps later, until Rossi surged past and went for the win. Criville caught up with the Roberts group on lap 10 and moved gradually through it until he took Nakano for third place on lap 16. Nakano stuck to Spanish rider and as Abe slowed slightly in the closing laps to safeguard his second place, both riders closed to a couple of seconds on the Japanese rider. Both Abe, riding for a Spanish team and Criville wanted to play safe and get a rostrum position, so there were no last lap heroics. Rossi took his time getting from the last turn to the flag, standing on the pegs and bowing to the teams lining pit wall. I guess he really is a genius on 2 wheels.

Olivier Jacques (Gaulois Tech3 Yamaha) did not start the race, still suffering from the broken wrist he incurred in Japan. Another non-starter was Haru Aoki (Arie Molenaar Honda), who had a big crash in the second qualifying session, and was badly bruised but didn't break any bones. Crashers included Chris Walker (Shell Advance Honda) and Barry Veneman (Dee Cee Jeans Racing Honda).

On to Rossi's next win in France.

Next race French GP 20 May 2001

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