Motorcycling: Kocinski gives Cagiva the perfect start

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The Independent Online
John Kocinski, in only his fifth race on a Cagiva, justified the Italian team's extensive and expensive winter development programme by winning the first 500cc race of the season yesterday, the Australian Grand Prix, at Eastern Creek, near Sydney. The American has now given Cagiva two of their three grand prix victories.

Kocinski, who left the works Suzuki team last year amid acrimony, led the race from start to finish on his new scarlet machine - a Ferrari on two wheels. The Japanese makes, who are so accustomed to having their way in grand prix racing, were left trailing. Italy's Luca Cadalora was second on a Yamaha and Australia's Michael Doohan was third on a Honda. The world champion, Kevin Schwantz, who raced with a cast on a broken arm, came fourth on a Suzuki.

It was Kocinski's fourth 500cc grand prix victory, in addition to the nine he won in the 250cc class. 'The bike was really consistent and stable,' the 26-year-old, 250cc world champion in 1990, said. 'The team gave me a bike I could win on and everything worked out great. We'll get better. You'd better believe it.'

Kocinski finished 6.79sec ahead of Cadalora, who said his bike was not fast enough in the opening laps. Schwantz was pleased with his performance, despite great discomfort. 'Considering it was only three weeks ago that I had the surgery, I'm not in too bad shape,' the American said.