Yet the Australian world champion was pushed to the limit by the Spaniards Carlos Checa and Alex Criville. All three riders took their turn to lead the 25-lap race, but at the half-way stage it was a straight fight between Doohan and Checa. Four laps from the end, Doohan squeezed his Honda back in front to hold on and win his first Catalunya Grand Prix.
Doohan said: "It's good to finally win here, but there were moments when I didn't think I was going to do it with the two Spanish guys pushing so hard. I made one mistake in the closing laps when my foot slipped off the pedal but I got away with it."
In the 250cc race, Germany's Ralf Waldmann went back on top of the championship standings when he overtook Max Biaggi at the last to win.
In the MCN British Superbike series yesterday, Niall MacKenzie shrugged off the pain of a broken wrist to clinch his second successive title with two victories at Brands Hatch. MacKenzie's only challenger for the title was Chris Walker, but his Boost Yamaha team-mate crashed on the final corner of the first race.
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