MotoGP » 23 July 2000
Barros by a bike length.
The American wasn't done either, thrusting his bike up the inside of Capirossi on the final lap t secure a podium finish. It was bad luck for the Honda rider that a solid race should end in such a forceful manner but, despite being relegated o sixth as he caught the ensuing moment, Loris acknowledged that there was nothing wrong with Roberts' move.
Biaggi and Okada were quick to make the most of Capirossi's grass-tracking moment to claim an extra place, leaving the Italian Honda rider separating the top grip from a chasing pack now headed by Regis Laconi. Among those in the Frenchman's wake came Carlos Checa, the Yamaha man putting in a plucky ride after his qualifying concussion to ensure that Roberts' championship lead didn't grow dramatically.
The American will be satisfied with his day's work, however, knowing that wherever he finished would have been good enough to extend the lead. The race, however, wasn't really about him, as two of Honda's privateers again proved that GP500 has moved on from the days of Doohan domination.
The action up front wasn't quite as close in either of the junior classes, with comfortable winners in both races. There was still incident and excitement, however, as riders chose the same piece of tarmac into the first corner.
Reigning GP250 championship leader Olivier Jacque had an easy task once he had cleared the first lap shenanigans, and pulled away from the rest of the field at a comfortable rate to win by eleven seconds. Behind him, however, there was trouble at the first corner, with an incident on the inside of the pack forcing home hero Ralf Waldmann and rising star Anthony West off the road and down the order. Britain's Jay Vincent was also involved but, like his rivals, rejoined the fray, although Frenchman Vincent Phillipe was not so lucky and retired.
Jacque had Japan's Tohru Ukawa for company in the opening few tours, while Marco Melandri found himself contending with pressure from the second Tech 3 Yamaha of Shinya Nakano and dropping away from the leaders. The weight of holding the Chesterfield bike back eventually told and, as Melandri ran wide, Nakano jumped into a third place he would hold to the flag.
The early stages showed no sign of what was to come at the front, as the cat-and-mouse battle between Jacque and Ukawa continued for lap after lap. The Honda rider seemed content to put in faster and faster times without passing the leader, but his patience eventually went unrewarded when a mistake approaching half-distance cost him time, and released the pressure that had been keeping Jacque in check. From that moment on, the Frenchman was able to ease away, his bike looking the best set-up in almost the entire field.
Melandri's obviously was no match for the leaders, and the young Italian suffered another moment that dropped him back behind the charging duo of Klaus Nohles and Jamie Robinson. The German was delayed at the start, losing the impetus of his front row grid slot, and forcing him to have to battle back through the field. Robinson was quick to latch on to the local, keeping his nose clean as he sought another run at the front after his Donington experience.
Jacque's dominance soon became clear, as he was lapping almost a second faster than his rivals, despite now having to force his way past the backmarkers. Ukawa and the distant Nakano simply had no answer, and settled for second and third well before the finish. Further back, Waldmann and West were making a comeback, but stalled momentarily as they came across the battle for the lower reaches of the top ten, before continuing on to take eighth and tenth respectively.
Waldmann's support was echoed by that for Nohles, who closed in on Daijiro Katoh in the closing stages, without being able to pass for fourth. Nevertheless, fifth proved to be his best finish, and promoted him to the position of best Aprilia runner at the Sachsenring.
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