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Katoh steamroller flattens Donington.

Daijiro Katoh obliterated the 250cc field at Donington Park to win by a comfortable ten seconds despite the Japanese rider taking a trip onto the grass in an attempt to give the others half a chance as he took his sixth victory of 2001.

Some people were surprised that it took Daijiro Katoh five laps to overhaul early race leader Tetsuya Harada before he made his traditional field-breaking move away from the pack as he once again crushed the 250cc competition to increase his Championship lead over Harada to a massive 40 points at the half-way mark of the 2001 season.

Katoh crossed the line more than ten seconds clear of Roberto Rolfo and the margin of victory would have been far greater had the Japanese rider not out-braked himself going into Goddards on lap 15 of 27 whilst he was holding down an eleven second lead. Unperturbed Katoh simply got his head down once again and eased himself away from the battling Aprilia's of Rolfo and Marco Melandri.

After the race Katoh said: ''Harada was ahead and I followed him for the first five laps. I overtook him, but then my pit board said the gap was widening so much I knew something was wrong with his bike. Then I missed a gear and ran off the track, but my tyres were perfect right to the end and I could run at my own pace for the whole race.''

The two Italian riders - Rolfo and Melandri - provided most of the late race entertainment after Jeremy McWilliams crashed on lap 16 and Harada fell back to 18th with spark plug problems and it was Rolfo who emerged ahead after a lengthy duel, no doubt smiling at his decision to run a harder rear tyre than Melandri.

Emilio Alzamora was a part of the Rolfo, Melandri, Harada, McWilliams battle in the early going but he could not sustain the pace on the second Telefonica Movistar Honda and he came across the line almost half a minute behind the electrifying Katoh in fourth place.

Naoki Matsudo could not repeat his 2000 Donington podium but nevertheless rode a strong race to finish fifth, albeit more than 45-seconds behind Katoh while Alfonso Nieto beat Sylvain Guintoli and Alex Debon home for sixth place despite having broken bones in both feet as a result of his fearsome Assen high-side.

250cc Top Finishers.

1. Daijiro Katoh JAP Honda 27 laps.
2. Roberto Rolfo ITA Aprilia + 10.173secs
3. Marco Melandri ITA Aprilia + 10.401secs
4. Emilio AlzamoraSPA Honda + 25.100secs
5. Naoki Matsudo JAP Yamaha + 46.668secs
6. Alfonso Nieto SPA Aprilia + 51.130secs
7. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Aprilia + 51.926secs
8. Alex Debon SPA Aprilia + 52.491secs


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