Roberts consolidates lead over Checa

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The Independent Online

Kenny Roberts, riding a Suzuki, won the rain-interrupted 500cc race at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez yesterday. The race had been halted on the 17th lap and the final 10 laps run almost an hour later. The Spaniard Carlos Checa, riding a Yamaha, was second and Italy's Valentino Rossi third on a Honda.

Roberts led the first part of the race by more than five seconds, but Checa closed the gap to under a second by the finish. The American consolidated his championship lead - he is seven points ahead of Checa.

"The others had slicks and I wished that I had put them on in the second part," said Roberts. "We did everything wrong in the second race but we did well enough in the first. That was one I wouldn't want to have to do again."

Japan's Hitoyasu Izutsu claimed a double victory on his Kawasaki in the third round of the World Superbike Championship in Sugo, Japan. The wins were his first in national or international competition in his seven years as a professional rider. His compatriot, Yamaha's Noriyuki Haga, who came second, leads the championship by 10 points from the Honda rider, Colin Edwards of the United States.