Last Sunday at Phillip Island, Olivier Jacque and Shinya Nakano reinacted one of the most spectacular two-wheeled championship deciders ever seen, outside of the famed Edwards/Bayliss WSBK battle.

Three year's ago, the then Chesterfield Yamaha team-mates arrived at Phillip Island - the season finale - knowing that whoever finished in front would win the 250cc world championship, but few could have guessed the title would be decided by the width of a wheel.

Pole sitter Nakano (#56) made the perfect start and set off like a rocket, with Daijiro Kato - who also had an outside chance of the crown - briefly moving ahead of Jacque (#19) into second. However, within a few laps, the Frenchman had closed right up to the rear wheel of his Tech 3 team-mate, as both dropped Kato.

The pair would remain inseparable for the rest of the race (top pic), Jacque shadowing Shinya and exploring different lines - but never even attempting to pass - what was he planning?

As the last lap began, Jacque either seemed to be holding his nerve superbly, or to have left things too late - Nakano was riding faultlessly and appeared to have every overtaking zone covered, but Jacque would surely try one of his famed 'Jacque attacks' at some stage...

Then it happened: Just as Nakano exited the final long left hand turn onto the Phillip Island front straight, with the chequered flag and a first world championship in sight, Jacque put his daring plan into practice - surprising everyone as he surged out of the final turn, then slipstreamed alongside Nakano.

The two were literally side-by-side as they crossed the line, but the results would reveal Jacque had timed his move to absolute perfection - taking the world championship by just 0.014secs. Kato finished 14.5secs behind on his factory Honda such was their pace.

While Nakano was naturally crestfallen, he hid his personal loss to celebrate sportingly with team boss Herve Poncharal and the victorious Jacque (middle pic). Shinya may have lost the title, but his Yamaha bosses were proud of the way he'd battled; Nakano could have swerved towards Jacque on the run to the flag and perhaps taken victory - and caused an accident - but that's not Shinya's style.

Both riders and team (it would become Gauloises Yamaha) would be promoted to the then 500cc class the following year.

Fast forward to the 2003 Australian Grand Prix and the pair would repeat their 250 title battle almost exactly, except this time both were in the premier-class and fighting over sixth - and top M1 honours - instead of race and championship victory.
Aware of the 2000 outcome, now D'Antin rider Nakano let Olivier lead the way before passing the Frenchman midway through the last lap for what he thought would be his revenge. But - amazingly - history repeated itself as the Japanese lost out again on the run to the flag (lower picture).

"It was fun to battle with Shinya here, it reminded me of when we were in the 250 class in 2000 when I won the world championship," said Jacque.

"It was a great ride with OJ. It was like 2000 when we raced here," agreed Shinya. "I tried to get my revenge, but I missed a gear on the run to through the final turn and he slipped by and got me, again. It was great fun but I'm disappointed, I wanted to beat him here."

The thrilling 2000 season, and its knife edge finale, pencilled both Jacque and Nakano in as future premier-class stars but, although neither has yet stood on the top step of the podium, it is Nakano who has emerged most likely to do so.

In fact, some would say Jacque has been living off his epic 2000 title victory ever since...

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