The Marlboro Yamaha Team once again proved a huge hit at the popular Marlboro Masters Formula 3 race at Zandvoort in Holland this weekend.

The team's riders, Spaniard Carlos Checa and Italian Max Biaggi, were joined by former-rider turned-TV-pundit Randy Mamola for a series of crowd-pleasing demonstration laps. With Checa and Biaggi riding their four-stroke Yamaha YZR-M1 bikes and Mamola on a 2001 YZR500 two-stroke, the trio performed the customary wheelies, stoppies and burn-outs in front of 45,000 Dutch race fans.

With the MotoGP season currently enjoying a month-long break from racing, Checa and Mamola appeared on Saturday and Sunday while Biaggi jetted in from holiday in Corsica on Sunday only. Also present were Ferrari test drivers Luca Badoer and Luciano Burti for a series of spectacular laps in the F1 Championship-winning car. Badoer managed to break the circuit record he set during last year's event.

"It's my third time here and it is always good fun," said Checa, who has recently signed a new two-year agreement to ride for the factory Yamaha MotoGP team. "It is great to spend time with the fans in a relaxed atmosphere. I don't think the engineers in Japan would be too happy to see what we were doing with the bikes, but it's all part of the show!"

"I was enjoying a fantastic holiday on a boat with friends around Corsica, but the Masters has now become a traditional part of our calendar and I enjoy coming," said former four-time 250 World Champion Biaggi. "There is a fantastic crowd here and it was good to have a few laps back on the bike. In two weeks we're back to work in Brno. We have some new things on the bike and I hope all this wheelie practice can be put to good use!"

Four-times second in the 500cc World Championship, Randy Mamola's enthusiasm for motorcycle sport has never diminished. The American was able to convert another 10 people to become life-long bike fans with rides on Yamaha's famous YZR500 two-seat bike over the two-days. Without exception, the passengers, that included Olympic speed skater Rintje Ritsma and Kelly, a famous Dutch former-Big Brother contestant, were amazed by the speeds, lean-angles and hard braking achieved by Mamola.

"This our third year here and each time the organisation has been fantastic for us," said Mamola. "I know it's a very serious event for those taking part, but for us it is truly great fun. One of the most fun things for me with this two-seat project is seeing my passengers' faces before and after - total fear before and total elation and thrills afterwards. It never fails!"

As far as the real racing went, Brazilian Fabio Carbone took the coveted trophy for the race which brings together the best F3 drivers from various championships around the world.

Biaggi and Checa will be back in full-action for the team on 23-25 August when the MotoGP season resumes at Brno in the Czech Republic. Both riders are hoping that their wheelie and burn-out practice of this weekend will be put to good use for a celebration after the chequered flag!

 

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