Results 250cc and 125cc Spanish GP

Colin MacKellar
by Colin MacKellar
One favourite won and one favourite crashed out. Just read on for the full picture....

2001 Spanish GRAND PRIXTRACK: JerezDATE: 6 May 2001WEATHER: Warm, cloudy 250cc Race Results (25 laps)------------------Pos No. Rider Nat Bike Time/Diff--- --- ----- --- ---- ---------1 74 Katoh Jpn Hon 43'49.7482 31 Harada Jpn Apr 11.7893 5 Melandri Ita Apr 17.3354 34 Lucci Ita Apr 17.8705 10 Nieto Spa Apr 23.6966 7 Alzamora Spa Hon 24.9797 44 Rolfo Ita Apr 25.7578 15 Locatelli Ita Apr 32.2019 21 Battaini Ita Apr 39.40410 99 McWilliams Gbr Apr 39.51011 66 Hofmann Ger Apr 53.43512 8 Matsudo Jpn Yam 53.47113 6 Debon Spa Apr 1'02.11314 12 Nohles Ger Apr 1'02.43715 57 Lanzi Ita Apr 1'02.899World Championship==================JPN RSA SPA1 Katoh 75 25 25 252 Harada 56 20 16 203 Melandri 46 10 20 164 Locatelli 37 16 13 85 Rolfo 28 11 8 96 Nieto 27 5 11 117 Matsudo 24 13 7 48 McWilliams 24 8 10 69 Battaini 16 9 - 710 Porto 16 7 9 - Katoh totally dominant

This season's favorite, Daijiro Katoh (Telefonica Movistar Honda) maintained his winning record to make it the first time a Japanese rider has won three straight 250 GPs. He was really not bothered by any of the other riders, although Tetsuya Harada (MS Aprilia) managed to head the field for a few early laps, after barging past Katoh on lap 4. Katoh was back ahead 2 laps later and was shadowed by Harada for 10 laps, before he upped the pace and went away from the Aprilia rider at a second a lap. Harada was left to take a comfortable second place, with team-mate Marco Melandri coming third, helped by 44 year-old veteran Marcellino Lucchi riding shotgun for him in 4th place. It was a boring race, with little passing action or excitement other than Harada's full-contact pass on lap 4.

There was a 10 minute delay to the start of the race after the safety car that followed the riders round on their warm-up lap, missed a corner and smacked into a wall out on the track. The riders had to wait patiently out on the grid while the spare car was prepared. When the shortened race finally got under way, Katoh and Harada led through the first turn, with Lucchi and Melandri just behind. The Spanish riders had something to prove and Elio Alzamora (Telefonica Movistar Honda) and Fonsi Nieto (Valencia Aspar Aprilia) locked horns with Naoki Matsudo (Petronas Sprinta Yamaha). Melandri took a few laps to settle down and had to pull up from 5th. place after being passed by Alzamora. By lap 8, he was with Lucchi and took third place 2 laps later. The field started to spread out as Katoh and Harada pulled a 5 second lead on Melandri and Lucchi, with the battle between Alzamora, Nieto and Matsudo another 5 second back. From lap 17, Katoh turned up the pace and started to pull away from Harada, adding a second a lap advantage from a pace that he maintained to the flag. Nieto pulled past Alzamora and Matsudo, who lost the front end of the bike on lap 21, managing to get started and still claim 4 championship points for 12th. place. Many of the works Aprilias were struggling, none of them happy with tires, suspension or engine. Roberto Locatelli (MS Eros Ramazzotti Aprilia) was suffering from the effects of a big crash he had during practice and could do no better than 8th. place at the flag.

After the race, Katoh, who had initially struggled during practice, gave full credit to the team, who had put together a bike with totally new settings during Saturday, giving him a clear pole position and race win.

Katja Poensgen (Dark Dog Racing Aprilia) came home 23rd., beating 4 other riders in the process. She's moving on up.....

125cc Race Results (23 laps)------------------Pos No. Rider Nat Bike Time/Diff--- --- ----- --- ---- ---------1 4 Azuma Jpn Hon 42'09.8492 9 Cechinello Ita Apr 4.6233 23 Borsoi Ita Apr 5.7534 5 Ueda Jpn Hon 10.1975 29 Angel Nieto Spa Hon 10.3846 31 Rodriguez Spa Apr 10.6047 15 Angelis RSM Hon 10.7478 11 Sabbatani Ita Apr 15.2319 39 Hules Cze Hon 15.79810 26 Pedrosa Spa Hon 19.49711 21 Vincent Fra Hon 24.70512 7 Perugini Ita Itj 27.71213 24 Elias Spa Hon 28.10914 25 Olive Spa Hon 28.22115 18 Smrz Cze Hon 28.969World Championship==================JPN RSA SPA1 Azuma 56 25 6 252 Ui 45 20 25 -3 Borsoi 42 13 13 164 Poggiali 31 11 20 -5 Cecchinello 30 10 - 206 Ueda 29 - 16 137 Nieto 27 5 11 118 Vincent 22 7 10 59 Sabbatani 21 4 9 810 De Angelis 18 2 7 9 Azuma wins as Derbis crash out

Masao Azuma (Liegeois Competition) took his second victory of the year as the Derbi challenge failed at their home GP. Youichi Ui (L&M Derbi) slid off on the 20th lap while in the leading group of 4 riders, which also included Azuma, Poggiali (Gilera Racing) and Perugini (Italjet). These riders had been circulating together for most of the race with Gino Borsoi (LAE- UGT3000 Aprilia) just behind but unable to close up to join them. Ui's crash was the start of some action that say Perugini slow dramatically over the last few laps, struggling home in 12th. place and a spectacular high-side from Manuel Poggiali on the very last lap while shadowing the leader Azuma. The Japanese rider was left well clear of the field and with a strong position in the championship table after 3 rounds of the 2001 season.

Next race France 20 May 2001

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Colin MacKellar
Colin MacKellar

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