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Reaction from today's Australian Grand Prix.

Yamaha Tech 3 Team Manager, Hervé Poncharal, was delighted that his two riders fought for the Championship in such a thrilling, and more importantly, sporting manor – neither making an aggressive gesture towards their opponent.

“It was like a fairytale,” said Poncharal “What most worried me was exactly what happened in the race: two riders battling, taking the risks to be in front. To them the most important thing was to be in front and I was scared they'd lose everything. The last lap scared me the most. I have to thank OJ for being a true gentleman rider. Second place was the most difficult place to be in. I told them earlier not to do anything stupid.”

Poncharal then turned his thoughts towards the defeated Nakano, “Shinya had a lot of bad luck this year. I knew he would be disappointed with this result but he put on a brave face. It's both riders that have given us this result. They've worked well together all year. It would be difficult to find a happier team manager, but tonight I just have to look after Shinya.”

Daijiro Katoh (Axo Honda Gresini NSR250) never seriously threatened the Yamaha duo at the front, but still took a determined third-place finish to secure third overall in the 250 World Championship, and with it became the rookie of the year.

Katoh had qualified third fastest and though he twice managed to get between them in the opening laps, he soon slipped back to third and was later briefly passed by Ralf Waldmann (Aprilia) before reclaiming the final podium position.

The winner of the two previous rounds said, “I rode as hard as I could but couldn't stay with Jacque or Shinya, they were too fast for me. Now I'm looking forward to my second year in GPs and going for the 2001 250 title.''

Anthony West (Shell Advance Honda NSR250) made a brave effort in front of his home crowd to seventh, despite riding with a nasty hand injury sustained in a final qualifying crash.

The Australian teenager said, “The finger didn't make riding the bike any easier, that's for sure. It hurt quite a bit and made things difficult especially through the really fast sections and into the really tight sections, where you're braking and you've got all the pressure on your hands.”


Masao Azuma won an incident filled 125cc race for the Benetton Playlife team, leading for the first time on the penultimate lap, before firstly defending against, then out-pacing, countryman Youichi Ui in the last lap dash to the flag.

Azuma said, “I saw so many guys crash, so I thought the track may be slippery and I took care. So I planned to leave my attack until late. I made a good pass and when he attacked on the last lap he was too fast into the turn and ran wide. I'm very happy.''



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