Results 125/250 Italian Grand Prix

Colin MacKellar
by Colin MacKellar
You's think it would be hot and sunny for a race in Italy early summer, but instead it was cloudy with heavy rain showers passing over the track. Result was stop and starts for the 125 and 500 races, with the 250 being declared "wet". Both 125 and 250 were pretty boring, but with results that could have a big impact on the final championship table. Read on...

2001 Italian GRAND PRIXTRACK: MugelloDATE: 3 June 2001WEATHER: Warm, cloudy, heavy showers 250cc Race Results (21 laps)------------------Pos No. Rider Nat Bike Time/Diff--- --- ----- --- ---- ---------1 31 Harada Jpn Apr 46'11.1292 44 Rolfo Ita Apr 12.7293 5 Melandri Ita Apr 37.6734 15 Locatelli Ita Apr 43.8605 10 Nieto Spa Apr 47.1496 7 Alzamora Spa Hon 54.8847 42 Checa Spa Hon 57.9038 6 Debon Spa Apr 59.0529 18 Yuzy Mal Yam 1'04.73510 74 Katoh Jpn Hon 1'11.79511 57 Lanzi Ita Apr 1'13.11012 8 Matsudo Jpn Yam 1'40.27413 22 de Gea Spa Yam 1'42.35114 98 Poensgen Ger Apr 1'42.51515 20 Vidal Spa Apr 1'42.911World Championship==================JPN RSA SPA FRA ITA1 Katoh 106 25 25 25 25 62 Harada 101 20 16 20 20 253 Melandri 78 10 20 16 16 164 Locatelli 60 16 13 8 10 135 Rolfo 55 11 8 9 7 206 Nieto 49 5 11 11 11 117 McWilliams 33 8 10 6 9 -7= Alzamora 33 10 13 109 Matsudo 28 13 7 4 - 410 Porto 24 7 9 - 8 - Katoh doesn't make it five from fiveIt's Harada and Aprilia's day.

What a boring race. Probably the worst all season. Once Marchellino Lucchi (MS Aprilia racing) and Jeremy McWilliams (Aprilia Grand Prix team) had fallen off their bikes on lap 5, Tetsuya Harada (MS Aprilia Racing) was left with a lead of 10 seconds that no-one was able to close. Roberto Rolfo (Safilo Oxydo Aprilia) had the race of a lifetime that took him to second place, with Marco Melandri a couple of miles behind him in third place. What happened to the championship leader, Katoh? He struggled in practice and could only take a disappointing 6th. place on the grid. He continued to struggle throughout the race, at one point holding 22nd. spot. With a lot of riders sliding out of the race, he was able to run steady laps and climb up to 10th. by the time the flag went out. He still leads the table, but the championship is wide open again.

It was declared to be a "wet race", meaning that it would not be stopped for the weather and it was raining at the start of the race. Harada got away well from pole position, but was headed by 44 year-old factory test rider Lucchi through turn 1, with McWilliams and Naoki Matsudo (Petronas Sprinta Yamaha) just behind. The three Aprilia riders pulled away from the Yamaha rider, with Lucchi constantly looking over his shoulder to check how they were doing. He defended his place from aggressive attacks from Harada, looking to want to lead the field unless the trio were threatened by other riders. On lap 5 it went wrong as the front wheel tucked under and the Italian bounced through the gravel track to come to a stop spread-eagled over the bike. A couple of corners later, the same happened to McWilliams and Harada was on his own.

That was the end of the action. Rolfo was running comparatively quick laps that enabled him to pass Matsudo, who later crashed and rejoined the race. Locatelli (MS Racing Aprilia) also had a big moment that had him out of the saddle alongside the bike, but he recovered and continued although the slower pace enabled Melandri (MS Racing Aprilia) to pass him. Franco Battaini crashed twice, first on the starting grid, amazingly being avoided by all the other riders as they blasted from the start line. Later he locked the front wheel under heavy braking and went down, taking Sebastian Porto ( Kurz Yamaha) with him.

As always, we keep tabs on our favorite GP racer, Katja Poensgen (Dark Dog Racing Aprilia). Guess what, she made history!! By coming home in 14th. place she earned herself 2 world championship points, the first points a women has ever managed in 250 GP racing.

125cc Race Results (20 laps)------------------Pos No. Rider Nat Bike Time/Diff--- --- ----- --- ---- ---------1 5 Ueda Jpn Hon 45'15.0462 23 Borsoi Ita Apr 3.8103 54 Poggiali RSM Gil 6.9174 24 Elias Spa Hon 12.9175 16 Sanna Ita Apr 13.2806 29 Angel Nieto Spa Hon 14.1277 21 Vincent Fra Hon 21.1038 4 Azuma Jpn Hon 21.2509 10 Müller Ger Hon 21.26310 15 Angelis RSM Hon 25.42411 50 Ballerini Ita Apr 27.08412 17 Jenkner Ger Apr 34.48313 19 Brannetti Ita Apr 1'01.13614 28 Talmacsi Hun Hon 1'01.89215 39 Hules Cze Hon 1'35.445World Championship==================JPN RSA SPA FRA ITA1 Borsoi 75 13 13 16 13 202= Azuma 72 25 6 25 8 82= Poggiali 72 11 20 - 25 164 Ueda 63 - 16 13 9 255 Ui 50 20 25 - 5 -6 Nieto 43 5 11 11 6 107= Cecchinello 41 10 - 20 11 -7= Vincent 41 7 10 5 10 99 Giansanti 32 8 4 - 20 -10 Elias 32 - - 3 16 13 Ueda king of the wet track

It was the rain that decided the outcome of the race amd Nobby Ueda (FCC-TSR Honda), with a decade of racing 125s at world championship level proved unbeatable. Rain started to fall on lap 3 of the first attempt to hold a race, with Youichi Ui (L&M Derbi) comfortably at the head of the field. Hands went up and the race was halted. The restart was an hour later than scheduled and the track was perfectly dry and the rain had stopped. Everyone left on the warm-up lap on slicks, but the heavens opened and a very heavy shower drenched the circuit, so all the riders returned to the pits. 30 minutes later they again lined up for what was now a "wet race" . Perugini (Italjet racing team) led the field for the opening laps, but crashed out. Simone Sanna (Safilo Oxydo Aprilia) and Masao Azuma (Liegeois Honda) mixed it for first place before being joined and passed by Gino Borsoi (UGT300 Aprilia). Behind them Nobby Ueda was putting in some fast times that took him to the front of the pack on lap 15. Only Borsoi was able to keep him in sight, but could do no more than that, so Ueda took the 13th. win of his career.

Next race Catalunya 17 June

Get in your Inbox
Colin MacKellar
Colin MacKellar

More by Colin MacKellar

Join the conversation