Doohan back to dominant best with victory at Sentul

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Michael Doohan's start to the world 500cc championship has been anything but dull. The Australian world champion was back to his dominant best yesterday, riding his Honda to victory in the Indonesian Grand Prix at Sentul.

Doohan, a straight talker who last season declared he found it "boring" winning races in the absence of a real challenge to Honda's hegemony, finished a disappointing fifth in the opening race of the world championship, the Malaysian Grand Prix, in Shah Alam, last weekend.

Alex Barross, also on a Honda, took the lead in the championship standings after finishing second in the 30-lap, 118.950-kilometre race.

Which, perhaps, is enough of a challenge for Doohan, who finished the course in 43min 50.798sec and completed the fastest lap of 1:27.139, with Barros clocking 43:54.025. Loris Capirossi, on a Yamaha, was third, followed by Alex Criville, riding a Honda.

Decidedly unruffled by his poor start to the season, the insouciant Doohan said after the race: "Pretty much everything went to plan. It was just a matter of bringing the bike home."

Capirossi said: "It was a very difficult 30-lap race. I had a not-so- bad start and tried hard to overtake Barros and Mick [Doohan], but I pushed the front tyre too hard, and for the last 15 laps I had to take it easy.

"Today it was very important to finish the race." said the Italian rider, who suffered a bad fall after 24 laps in Malaysia.

Luca Cadalora, who won in Malaysia, said: "We did our best, but that was not enough. Anyhow we've got the points and have to be prepared for the next one, but sixth is better than nothing."

Results, Digest, page 23