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Katoh keeps his 100% record – just.

Katoh caught backmarkers on lap 18, presenting Harada with a potential opportunity, but it would work against him in the final corner as he got boxed in while passing Cesar Barros, but the gap between the two still dropped by 0.1 of a second, with ex-250 champ Harada setting the fastest lap of the race on the very next circuit.

6 laps to go and the lead duo were separated by less than 0.3secs as the game of Cat-and-Mouse at the front continued, with Nieto in third followed by Alzamora, Locatelli and McWilliams.

Harada amazingly made his move in the final corners of lap 24 of 26, showing Katoh he would have to work hard if he wanted to secure yet another 250cc win today.

The #31 Aprilia of Harada began shaking erratically through the final corners of the lap as Harada began wringing ever ounce of power from the Italian machine, but Katoh was not going to be beaten easily and was rarely more than 0.3secs behind his fellow countryman.

On the penultimate lap Harada weaved his way across the start/finish line, while Katoh stayed 'poker faced' in second.

Into the final lap and Katoh passed Harada under braking – under the Dunlop Bridge (“it was the only place I could pass him,” admitted Katoh afterwards) and he immediate set off to break Harada's spirit.

Harada though, closed back up through the twisty final section of the lap, but it was not enough and Katoh held on top win by just 0.204secs after an intelligent race by the World Championship leader to keep his amazing 100% record in 2001.

Lady racer Katja Poensgen failed to start today's race after separating her shoulder in a second crash during qualifying yesterday.

Full results to follow….

1. Katoh – 44mins 29.546secs
2. Harada +0.204secs
3. Melandri +13.599secs
4. Alzamora +16.813secs
5. Nieto +18.429secs
6. Locatelli +29.025secs
7. McWilliams +42.813secs
8. Porto +44.429secs
9. Rolfo +45.077secs
10. Debon +45.351secs
11. Hofmann +47.253secs
12. Nohles +55.500secs
13. Battaini +56.474secs
14. Guintoli +57.653secs
15. Yuzy +1min 4.735secs






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