23 July 2000
Barros by a bike length.
At the flag, Jacque gave his crew - and the rest of the crowd - a long time to celebrate his victory before having to switch their attentions back to the remaining finishers. Some eleven seconds separated the Frenchman from nearest pursuer Ukawa, with Nakano a similarly distant third. Katoh and Nohles thus provided the first close finish of the race, but by then most people were probably talking about Jacque's championship chances.
The GP125 race was as much of a demonstration run for pole-sitter Youichi Ui as the time session had proven to be on Saturday.
Seven seconds was the little Derbi rider's margin over the rest of the field, with fellow front-row starters Roberto Locatelli and Simone Sanna following him onto the rostrum. Measure of the problems caused by a first lap accident, however, was highlighted by Arnaud Vincent's elevation to fourth on the road - from 20th on the grid!
The opening tour proved to be as painful for one Derbi rider as it was good for Ui, with Manuel Poggiali crashing out less than 24 hours after possibly fracturing his ankle in a qualifying crash. The San Marino rider was not alone in failing to complete the first lap, however, with Masao Azuma and Gino Borsoi among those joining him on the sidelines.
Back at the front, the race quickly became something of a procession at the front, as Ui pulled away from Locatelli, and the Italian opened out a bigger gap back to third. Sanna eventually filled the rostrum place, but was some ten seconds adrift at the flag.
Worse was to befall the other front row starter, however, as Nobby Ueda dropped down to an unrepresentative 13th by the end. It was a disappointing result for the likeable Japanese, and poor reward for a late qualifying charge that had taken him from 19th to fourth in five laps.
Vincent, however, was the grateful recipient of Ueda's rightful place, somehow picking his way through the field to take fourth, just a second behind Sanna. Likewise, Mirko Giansanti, still carrying the effects of his Mugello crash, claimed fifth from 13th. Ivan Goi finished sixth, just ahead of the third Derbi of Pablo Nieto, with Gigi Scalvini, Angel Nieto Jr and extremely local hero Steve Jenkner rounding out the top ten.
This was a day for championship contenders, however, with Ui and Jacque strengthening their hands at the top of their respective tables. Roberts, meanwhile, may not have won his race but showed, with his late pass on Capirossi, that he has not settled for the crown just yet.
The season now heads into its traditional summer break, giving those behind the chance to re-evaluate their challenges but, for the men in front, it will be a pleasurable holiday.
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