Results 500cc Race British GP

Colin MacKellar
by Colin MacKellar
Wow, now that's what I call entertainment... Rossi on a mission to get from 11th to 1st. in 30 laps of Donington. Did he do it? Read on....

2001 British GP

TRACK: DoningtonDATE: 8 July 2001WEATHER: Dry 500cc Race Results (30 laps)------------------Pos No. Rider Nat Bike Time/Diff--- --- ----- --- ---- ---------1 46 Rossi Ita Hon 46'53.3492 3 Biaggi Ita Yam 1.7943 4 Barros Bra Hon 2.0114 41 Haga Jpn Yam 7.6105 7 Checa Spa Yam 12.5266 56 Nakano Jpn Yam 12.7667 28 Criville Spa Hon 16.2258 1 Roberts USA Suz 16.6999 19 Jacque Fra Yam 16.78010 65 Capirossi Ita Hon 24.78111 15 Gibernau Spa Suz 29.20512 17 v.d. Goorbergh Hol Proton 44.96413 24 Vincent Gbr Yam 49.90714 14 West Aus Hon(2) 50.03315 8 Walker Gbr Hon 59.116World Championship==================JPN RSA SPA FRA ITA CAT NED GBR1 Rossi 161 25 25 25 16 - 25 20 252 Biaggi 135 16 8 5 25 16 20 25 203 Capirossi 103 8 20 8 9 20 16 16 64 Barros 89 10 7 10 8 25 - 13 165 Nakano 84 11 13 13 5 8 13 11 106 Abe 74 13 11 20 13 7 10 - -7 Criville 71 7 10 16 11 13 5 - 98 Roberts 55 9 9 9 10 - - 10 89 Gibernau 54 - 6 6 7 10 11 9 510 Ukawa 53 - 16 11 - 9 9 8 - Rossi is magnificentBiaggi acknowledges defeat after Rossi pulls through from 11th.

It was a very difficult weekend for Valentino Rossi (Nastro Azzurro Honda) which started with a bad fall at the Craner Curves on Friday, and continued with poor practice sessions, but everything came good in the end with a spectacular victory over arch-rival Max Biaggi (Marlboro Yamaha). The Italian himself was clearly overjoyed with the result after the disappointment of second place at the Dutch TT, with the disappointment now felt acutely by Biaggi, who acknowledged post-race that he could not have gone any faster and that the Rossi/Honda package was simply better. Can anything stop Rossi from the title this year ?

Biaggi was quickest off the line as the red lights faded but Kenny Roberts (Telefonica Movistar Suzuki) was very sharply away from the grid and pushed through to lead the pack down the hill and through the Craner Curves. Three riders had to come in for stop and go penalties, Cardoso, Abe and Ukawa, as they got off the line a little too sharply. For the first 10 laps Roberts was riding hard, fast and smoothly and was able to maintain his position at the head of the field, but then, as has happened so often this year, the tires faded and so did Roberts and he drifted back down to eventually finish in 8th. place. Biaggi was also riding smoothly and fast, but the same could not be said of Rossi, who had held 11th. place at the end of practice. Taking just a single lap to warm his tires, Rossi rode the wheels off the Honda, lap after lap diving up the inside of riders under heavy braking at the Foggarty Esses and the Melbourne loop, until by lap 6, he was up to 6th. place and almost on the leaders. Roberts and Biaggi were by this time being shadowed by Alex Barros (West Honda) , who has a reputation for doing well at Donnington, with his team-mate Loris Capirossi close behind. Doing surprisingly well was Olivier Jacques (Gaulois Yamaha) in 5th. spot, after having set a good time in practice, despite falling at the Craner curves and knocking his ankle. Rossi was not to be held back and lap by lap, he picked off the leaders until he hit the front on lap 18. From lap 12, the fight for the win was between just Biaggi, Barros and Rossi, as Roberts, Capirossi and Jacques lost the pace and dropped back down the field. Their decline was matched by a good performance from Nori Haga (Red Bull Yamaha), who set lap times a fraction faster than the leaders and closed to within a couple of bike lengths of Barros as Biaggi and Rossi fought for the lead a second ahead. By the time Haga reached Barros, two thirds of the race was ridden and Haga's tires did not allow him to mount a sustainable challenge on Barros, so he settled for 4th. place, his best result this season.

When Rossi took the lead from Biaggi, it looked as if Biaggi would be able to hang on, but with a couple of fast laps from the Honda rider, the tow was broken and Rossi established a 1 second advantage. With the bike sliding big time in some of the faster corners, and a very big moment on the last lap, it was clear that Rossi was riding on the edge. His tactic paid off and Biaggi slipped back to almost come within reach of Barros, with Haga well back of them. Barros was not willing to try and last lap heroics and settled for third place at the flag.

Next race German GP at the Sachsenring 22 July

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Colin MacKellar
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