Motor Cycling: Schwantz defies the pain barrier: British Grand Prix: World motorcycling champion shrugs off Doohan's challenge and distraction of a broken wrist to clinch victory

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The Independent Online
THE WORLD champion played his part to perfection, winning the British 500cc Grand Prix here yesterday despite a broken left hand and keeping the competition for this year's title ticking over. Knowing he had to win to have a realistic chance of defending his crown, Kevin Schwantz fought off the challenge of Michael Doohan to record his second victory of the season and his fourth on this circuit.

The American's success was achieved against the odds, with a body battered from accidents old and new and on a bike that has failed to match the power of Doohan's Honda so far this season. But Schwantz and Suzuki are suited to the sweeping curves here. 'Suzuki is a good bike for Donington Park,' said the man who won here three times in a row from 1989.

Doohan, the winner of seven grands prix this year, rode his Honda home 2.3sec behind his rival and left the meeting with a 71- point lead over Schwantz in the standings with four races remaining and a maximum of 100 points available. Italy's Luca Cadalora, the winner last year, was third on a Yamaha, followed by the Cagivas of the two Americans, John Kocinski and Doug Chandler, and the Hondas of the two Spaniards, Alex Criville and Alberto Puig. In eighth was the best-placed Briton, Niall Mackenzie on a Yamaha, and of his compatriots to finish, the two Yamaha riders, Jeremy McWilliams and Sean Emmett, were 10th and 12th respectively.

Cadalora and Chandler flew out of the blocks for the 30-lap race, leaving Doohan and Schwantz to chase. The Australian began to reel in the two leaders while the American watched and waited in fourth position. He allowed his team-mate, Brazil's Alexandre Barros, to overtake him but by the sixth lap, the younger man had fallen, leaving Schwantz to move gradually closer to the three in front, all of whom swapped the lead during the opening laps.

Just as Doohan appeared to be forging ahead of the field, Schwantz, dangling free his injured hand whenever the course allowed, began to make his move. By half- distance, he had joined Doohan at the front and when they came upon the back-markers, the Texan passed the Queenslander and swept away, maintaining an advantage of around three seconds for the rest of the race. Both men agreed that the state of the world championship had dictated the terms of the race. Schwantz was going for broke while Doohan would be happy with the 20 points for the runner-up.

Schwantz, with a bag of ice on his wrist, said afterwards: 'It always feels good to win and this year, it had got to where it feels good just to get on the rostrum.'

Doohan said: 'I didn't think Kevin would be in there today, let alone win the race. He must really like this place. I knew I didn't have to win today but I'm not sure the outcome would have been different if I did.'

On Saturday night, Schwantz was almost broken. He must have thought the circuit was exacting revenge for his past triumphs. After falling on oil in 1992 and being smacked from behind on the first lap last year, he parted company with his bike in the most spectacular fashion during Saturday's final qualifying session. It was one small step out of line for Suzuki; one giant leap for Schwantz.

But with race-day came the usual infusion of adrenalin and after an early-morning visit to the trackside church ('maybe I'll start going every day now'), he was pumped up for the grand prix. 'If you had asked me last night, I'd have told you I didn't think it was possible to win today,' he said after yesterday's victory ceremony. 'I'd been surprised to be on pole in the early stages of practice, then when I fell (on Saturday) afternoon, as I lay on the ground, I thought I was hurt worse and that my season was over.'

Schwantz was not the only rider to feel the bite of the track. Various collisions and self-inflicted spills depleted the field, which yesterday was missing the Cagiva of the Lancastrian, Carl Fogarty, who withdrew after qualifying because of a combination of a largely untested fuel-injected machine and broken bones in his right hand from an accident on Friday.


500cc (30 laps, 120.690km) 1 K Schwantz (US) Suzuki 47min 31.632sec (ave speed 152.363kph, 94.676mph); 2 M Doohan (Aus) Honda 47:33.998; 3 L Cadalora (It) Yamaha 47:37.442; 4 J Kocinski (US) Cagiva 47:43.892; 5 D Chandler (US) Cagiva 47:48.096; 6 A Criville (Sp) Honda 47:51.406; 7 A Puig (Sp) Honda 48:11.228; 8 N Mackenzie (GB) ROC Yamaha 48:24.696; 9 S Itoh (Japan) Honda 48:32.415; 10 J McWilliams (GB) Yamaha 48:44.010. Selected: 12 S Emmett (GB) Yamaha 1:25.088; 14 J Reynolds (GB) Yamaha 1 lap; 16 K Mitchell (GB) Yamaha 1 lap. Did not finish: 26 J Haydon (GB) Yamaha 29 laps; 27 N Hopkins (GB) Yamaha 29 laps. Fastest lap: Schwantz (lap 13, 1:34.161, 153.809kph). World championship standings (after 10 races): 1 Doohan 231pts; 2 Schwantz 160; 3 Kocinski 120; 4 Puig 112; 5 Criville 109; 6 A Barros (Bra) Suzuki 100; 7 Cadalora 98; 8 Itoh 95; 9 Chandler 59; 10 Mackenzie 43. Other GB: 12 Reynolds 34; 14 McWilliams 25; 16 Emmett 20; 26 Haydon 6.

Constructors' Championship: 1 Honda 231pts; 2 Suzuki 179; 3 Cagiva 131; 4 Yamaha 113; 5 ROC Yamaha 67; 6 Harris Yamaha 38; 7 Aprilia 7.

250cc (27 laps, 108.621km) 1 L Capirossi (It) Honda 43min 18.624sec (ave speed 150.478kph); 2 T Okada (Japan) Honda 43:21.857; 3 D Romboni (It) Honda 43:21.980; 4 T Harada (Japan) Yamaha 43:22.500; 5 J- M Bayle (Fr) Aprilia 43:24.140; 6 J-P Ruggia (Fr) Aprilia 43:24.731; 7 R Waldmann (Ger) Honda 43:25.110; 8 N Aoki (Japan) Honda 43:45.957; 9 L D'Antin (Sp) Honda 43:54.114; 10 E Suter (Swit) Aprilia 43:54.934. Selected: 20 E McManus (GB) Yamaha 1 lap. Fastest Lap: Capirossi (lap 19, 1:34.953, 152.467kph). World championship standings (after 10 rounds): 1 Capirossi 168pts; 2 Okada 152; 3 M Biaggi (It) Aprilia 144; 4 Romboni 129; 5 Waldmann 113; 6 Ruggia 110; 7 Bayle 78; 8 D'Antin 74; 9 Aoki 71; 10 Harada 66.

Constructors' Championship: 1 Honda 230pts; 2 Aprilia 193; 3 Yamaha 69.

125cc (26 laps, 104.598km) 1 T Tsujimura (Japan) Honda 44min 22.659sec (ave speed 141.420kph); 2 S Perugini (It) Aprilia 44:22.926; 3 Peter Oettl (Ger) Aprilia 44:24.118; 4 K Sakata (Japan) Aprilia 44:24.290; 5 H Torrontegui (Sp) Aprilia 44:24.512; 6 N Ueda (Japan) Honda 44:39.349; 7 O Petrucciani (Swit) Aprilia 44:44.828; 8 D Raudies (Ger) Honda 44:46.480; 9 C Giro (Sp) Aprilia 44:46.969; 10 J Martinez (Sp) Yamaha 44:47.256. GB: 21 N Hodgson Honda 1:06.813; 28 D Barton Honda 1 lap; 34 K Mawdsley Honda 16 laps. Fastest lap: Oettl (lap 25, 1:41.643, 142.487kph). World championship standings (after 10 races): 1 Sakata 183pts; 2 Ueda 137; 3 Tsujimura 132; 4 Oettl 121; 5 Raudies 110; 6 Martinez 86; 7 Torrontegui 73; 8 Tokudome 64; 9 G McCoy (Aus) Aprilia 56; 10 Perugini 54. Constructors' Championship: 1 Honda 226pts; 2 Aprilia 195; 3 Yamaha 90.

Sidecars (26 laps, 104.598km): 1 R Biland and K Waltisperg (Swit) LCR-Swissauto 45min 54.342sec (90.169mph); 2 D Brindley and P Hutchinson (GB) LCR- Honda +0.672sec; 3 S Webster (GB) and A Hanni (Swit) LCR-Krauser +22.260; 4 K Klaffenboek and C Parzer (Aut) LCR-Bartol +29.497; 5 P Guedel and C Guedel (Swit) LCR-ADM +29.806; 6 Y Kumagaya (Japan) and M Finnegan (GB) LCR-ADM +33.374; 7 S Abbott and J Tailford (GB) Windle-Krauser +42.417; 8 B Brindley and S Whiteside (GB) LCR-Yamaha +1:17.359; 9 M Reddington and T Crone (GB) LCR-ADM +1 lap. Selected: 11 K Webster (GB) and H Hofsteenge (Swit) LCR-Krauser +1; 12 P Bohnhorst (Ger) and P Brown LCR-Steinhausen +1. World Championship standings: 1 Biland and Waltisperg 91pts; 2 Webster and Hanni 63; 3 Brindley and Hutchinson 61; 4 Klaffenboek and Parzer 56; 5 Guedel and Guedel 55; 6 M Boesiger and J Egli (Swit) LCR-ADM 52.