Motorcycling: Rainey ready to roll on a circuit to his liking

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

WAYNE RAINEY, the world champion, says the Assen track for today's Dutch 500cc Grand Prix is tailor-made for him to return to winning form.

Rainey trails his fellow-American Kevin Schwantz by 14 points with eight races to go, but he relishes the challenge of coming from behind in mid-season as he did so successfully last year.

'I find it's easier to get motivated when I'm behind,' Rainey said.

'You've got to come back from that, you've got to get better and everyone in the team is working towards a goal.'

Rainey says he and his Yamaha are ideally suited to the Assen circuit, which requires technique as well as speed.

'I like the layout of the track,' the three-times world champion from California said. 'Our bike works better on twisty circuits like that, it doesn't like long straights. You don't need a whole lot of top speed there, what you need is a stable bike.'

Schwantz is still smarting after the Australian newcomer Daryl Beattie narrowly beat him to the finishing line in the German Grand Prix on the ultra-fast Hockenheim circuit two weeks ago.

But Beattie, who rides a Honda, has never raced on the 6.049km Assen track, while Schwantz knows the problems to look for.

'It has a reasonably long lap and all the corners seem to flow into one another. One little mistake can spoil a long section of the track,' the Suzuki rider said.

Rainey and Schwantz have each won 22 grands prix but Schwantz is still seeking his first world title.

The organisers of today's race have tried to improve track safety by replacing straw bales with banks of tyres, enlarging sand-pits and moving the entrance of the pit lane.