29 October 2000
Reaction from today's Australian Grand Prix.
Garry McCoy, racing in front of his home crowd finished a credible fifth after another eventful race on the Red Bull Yamaha. He was denied the chance of a popular win as (like others) his tyres faded in the final stages.
He explained, “We made the right tyre choice and for most of the race they performed well. But towards the end they weren't working as good as I'd have liked and I couldn't get any closer to the front runners without taking a lot of risks – and the plan this weekend was to finish the race at all costs. Unfortunately I have slipped back to 5th in the championships, but as that was the goal I'd set myself at the beginning of the year I can't really complain.”
McCoy then summed up his year further, “Overall, with 3 wins and 3 thirds, I've had a pretty good season. We've taken a few gambles, had a bit of bad luck and made a few mistakes, but we won't repeat those next year and I'm looking forward to having a serious crack at the title.”
Surprise pole position holder, Jeremy McWilliams, was swamped by the field at the start – dropping him to fifteenth position. The closeness of the racing meant that in terms of time he was rarely more than two seconds off the lead – even before he began his charge for the front. Sadly after rising to fourth the Aprilia's tyres began to fade and McCoy was engulfed by the field, sliding down the order to eighth.
The Blu Aprilia MS Team rider said, “I had a really bad chatter problem. Unfortunately, we just didn't put together enough laps at race pace yesterday and the tyre choice turned out not to be good. I was having big problems on the brakes because of chatter. I don't really know why we had that problem. Everything else was fine. The bike had great speed. So I'm very disappointed.”
The 250cc race saw the thrilling climax to a season long battle between Chesterfield Yamaha Tech 3 teammates Olivier Jacque and Shinya Nakano. The race, and World Championship, eventually being decided in just the final few metres before the chequered flag.
Nakano had lead from pole at the start, but was soon being hounded by Jacque who was cleverly managing his race to gauge where he could pass before the chequered flag. Jacque held his nerve and followed Nakano for the whole race, not showing his hand until the final corner of the last lap, when he pulled out of Nakano's slipstream to win by the length of his front wheel.
Afterwards the triumphant Jacque paid tribute to his teammate, “All season we have been close. It has been so difficult to beat each other. I was quite nervous for the team and didn't want to make a mistake. Even when I crossed the line I wasn't certain who was World Champion, and it wasn't until a team member handed me the flag that I knew for sure.”
Jacque's victory placed him on equal number of wins with his hero, former French Grand Prix rider, Christian Sarron. “I am very glad for myself and the team. We have been fighting five years for this. I know how hard this is for Shinya. We did a good job together. I am really looking forward to going to 500s next year with Shinya,” Jacque concluded.
Shinya Nakano was naturally devastated to have come so close to the ultimate prize in 250cc racing, “Five or ten metres before the finish I was World Champion.” Was how Nakano summed up the race, before adding, “I wanted it very much and did my best, but this is racing. Every lap I knew Olivier was right behind me. This year he was very fast and very strong, but it was also a good season for me, with five victories. Through the year we have helped each other, and I think this was our strong point.”
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