MotoGP » 6 May 2001
Katoh claims three out of three.
Daijiro Katoh continued his domination of the 250cc class in Jerez by claiming victory by 11.789secs, on an afternoon in which his only mistake was to stall as he celebrated victory on the slowing down lap!
As the 250's completed their parade lap, took their grid positions and waited for the red lights to go out, an official suddenly ran out on the track with a 'delayed start' sign, for no apparent reason.
Then suddenly the circuit cameras cut to the “Limited Edition” BMW M3 safety car – with its front heavily damaged after it had crashed off the circuit, while on the parade lap!
The MotoGP riders kept their composure, despite the 'sympathetic' cheers (!) of the Spanish crowd echoing around the track, and the grid duly reformed for the second start 5mins later.
When the lights went out, it was pole position holder, and run-away championship leader, Katoh, who made a stunning start from pole, with Harada up to second, Nieto third, Melandri fourth and Lucchi fifth.
By the start of the second lap it was still Katoh at the front but by now Lucchi was up to third, behind Harada, with Melandri fourth. The Aprilia riders clearly had no intention of letting the Japanese rider escape.
By the start of lap 4 local hero, and Katoh's teammate, Alzamora had moved into fourth ahead of Melandri to the delight of the local fans, while Harada, the 1993 250cc champ, muscled his way past his fellow Japanese rider on a tight right-hander to take the lead mid-way round the lap.
Katoh kept the pressure on Harada for lap after lap and eventually found his way past on lap 6 of 25, while Melandri found a way past Alzamora and set off in pursuit of his two MS Aprilia teammates in front.
By lap 8 the two Japanese riders were almost a second ahead of Lucchi, with Katoh unable to shake off Harada, who was actually looking uncharacteristically ragged in places as he tried to find a way past Katoh.
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