After qualifying just eighteenth, Norick Abe needed a strong race at Welkom to silence his critics and justify his inclusion in the Yamaha line-up.

Fortunately for the Japanese that's just what he did - charging through the field to finish ninth, the top M1 rider after race winner Rossi.

"I'm happy because compared to qualifying and all the pre-season tests this is a bit of a surprise," began Norick. "But I'm surprised and happy for Rossi too - he was an unbelievable 36 seconds ahead of me!

"This is my first time on this bike in a race and finally I got the set-up right," explained the former 500cc race winner. "Racing is always different for me and usually faster than qualifying. Now I need to find a little more traction and that's what we'll be working on at Jerez."

 

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