Motorcycling: Criville promises to become king of Le Castellet

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The Independent Online
Alex Criville upstaged his Honda team-mate, Michael Doo-han, in yesterday's opening practice session for the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet.

The Spaniard was fastest on the 2.35-mile track in 1min 21.456sec. Doohan, the reigning world champion and world championship leader, was second in 1:21.737. "I've beaten him once this season in the Spanish Grand Prix," Criville said. "I know I can do it again."

Italy's Doriano Romboni, on an Aprilia, clocked the third fastest time of 1:21.916.

On the Isle of Man, the Ulsterman Phillip McCallen charged to a winning double on the final day of the 90th Anniversary TT races. The 33-year- old Portadown racer comfortably won the Production race and then took the festival's six-lap Senior race.

The Production race was cut to two laps because of uncertain weather, but McCallen overcame the challenge of a tricky course with a mixture of damp and dry sections. He rode a calculated, cautious race, heading off the early challenge of Ducati's Ian Simpson to secure Honda's 90th success on the Island as he rode home.

"It was really great to get out there and win again," said McCallen, who crashed at high speed during Monday's 250cc race. "I had a fine physiotherapist working on me. I took it easy from the first half-lap, then upped the pace, but I was pretty careful throughout. There are some awkward damp patches around the course."

McCallen's victory avenged his defeat in Wednesday's Junior race by Scotland's Ian Simpson. The Dalbeattie rider on a Ducati had to be content with second place, ahead of Preston's Simon Beck.

There was better to come in the Senior race, with McCallen, despite always holding the upper hand, locked in a fierce duel with Glaswegian Jim Moodie aboard the V-Twin 500cc Honda Grand Prix bike.

Windermere's Bob Jackson threatened an upset when leading after two laps as he adopted a one-stop refuelling strategy - all the other riders pitted twice. However, McCallen comfortably headed him off and the Kawasaki rider finished an eventual third.

"It was an enjoyable, perfect end to the week - I rode carefully, concentrating hard all of the time, and everything worked perfectly," said McCallen after his victory by 8.7sec over Moodie. It was McCallen's third win of the week, and his 11th in total on the island.

500CC GRAND PRIX (Le Castellet, France) Leading practice times: 1 A Criville (Sp) Honda 1min 21.456sec; 2 M Doohan (Aus) Honda 1:21.737; 3 D Romboni (It) Aprilia 1:21.916; 4 C Checa (Sp) Honda 1:21.977; 5 T Okada (Japan) Honda 1:22.061; 6 L Cadalora (It) Yamaha 1:22.324; 7 A Puig (Sp) Honda 1:22.552; 8 J Borja (Sp) Honda 1:22.660; 9 A Barros (Bra) Honda 1:22.712; 10 D Beattie (Aus) Suzuki 1:22.892.

ISLE OF MAN TT PRODUCTION RACE (2 laps, 74.46 miles): 1 P McCallen (Motorcycle City CBR900RR Honda) 38min 39.4sec; 117.12mph), 2 I Simpson (Reve Ducati) 38:47.0; 3 S Beck (GT M/Cs CBR900RR Honda) 39:08.3; 4 M Flynn (750 Suzuki) 39: 28.9; 5 J Hodson (1000 Yamaha) 39:30.2; 6 D Young (Tillston M/Cs CBR900RR Honda) 39:35.8; 7 A Bennallick (GT M/Cs CBR900RR Honda) 39:35.8; 8 P Hunt (1000 Yamaha) 39:41.4; 9 M Rutter (V&M CBR900RR Honda) 39:43.5; 10 J Moodie (750 Suzuki) 39:59.8. Senior race (6 laps, 226.38 miles): 1 P McCallen (Honda RC45) 1hr 53min 36.6sec, 119.55mph; 2 J Moodie (Honda V-twin 500) 1:53:45.3; 3 I Simpson (V & M Honda RC45) 1:54:30.2; 4 B Jackson (Kawasaki) 1:54:50.6; 5 S Beck (Kawasaki) 1:55:04.4; 5 D Young (Honda RC45) 1:55:28.5.