MOTORCYCLING Doohan's good vibes

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Michael Doohan, the world championship leader, won the 500cc Malaysian Grand Prix in Shah Alam yesterday, continuing his dominance of the new season. Doohan was in charge from start to finish, blazing around the 115.665km track in 47min 54.380sec to finish ahead of his fellow Australian Daryl Beattie.

Riding a Honda, Doohan averaged 144.864kph for the 33 laps. His fastest lap time of 1min 26.090sec was well under the 1:25.059 lap he clocked in practice on Friday, which was the fastest ever timed at the circuit and earned him the pole position for yesterday's race.

Doohan, who won the first event of the season in Australia last week, said he tried to break from the pack early on "but I had a few slides and then decided I'd better calm down.

"But I gradually got away. Then with 10 laps to go, I thought I felt some vibration, but maybe it was just imaginary or maybe a wheel weight fell off because the rear tyre was OK."

MALAYSIAN 500cc GRAND PRIX (Shah Alam): 1 M Doohan (Aus) Honda 47min 54.380sec; 2 D Beattie (Aus) Suzuki 48:01.179; 3 A Criville (Sp) Honda 48:04.487; 4 K Schwantz (US) Suzuki 48:08.524; 5 A Puig (Sp) Honda 48:09.618; 6 A Barros (Bra) Honda 48:09.684; 7 S Itoh (Japan) Honda 48:09.916; 8 L Reggiani (It) Aprilia 48:12.356; 9 J Borja (Sp) Yamaha 48:50.166; 10 B Garcia (Fr) Yamaha. Championship standings: 1 Doohan 50pts; 2 Beattie 40; 3 Criville 32; 4 Schwantz 24; 5 Puig 20; 6 Barros 20; 7 Itoh 15; 8 L Cadalora (It) 13; 9 Reggiani 13; 10 Garcia 9.

Other details, Sporting Digest, page 35