Motorcycling: Criville assumes control

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The Independent Online
Spain's Alex Criville took advantage of a high-speed crash by the world champion Michael Doohan to win the Australian 500cc Grand Prix at Phillip Island yesterday.

Criville proved he has made a full recovery from a horrific hand injury at Assen in June with an assured ride after assuming the lead mid-way through the 27-lap race.

He crossed the finish line more than two seconds ahead of his HRC Honda team-mate Takuma Aoki with another Japanese, Norifume Abe, third on a Yamaha.

Doohan, already assured of his fourth world title, made a rare mistake when he lost control of his front wheel when the 47th grand prix victory of his career appeared in his grasp. "I simply can't believe that I crashed. The front tyre just got away from me and that was that," the 32-year-old Honda rider said.

The bike slid from under Doohan as he braked on entering the fastest turn at the start of lap 16.

Italy's Max Biaggi equalled Doohan's achievement by claiming his fourth 250cc world title in a row by finishing second behind Ralf Waldmann, of Germany.