Motorcycling: Rainey reels in Doohan

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WAYNE RAINEY took full advantage of Michael Doohan's misfortune and threw the 500cc world championship race wide open yesterday by winning the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo to reduce the injured Australian's lead in the season's standings to just two points with one event remaining.

The American, riding a Yamaha, led from start to finish and won by more than 13 seconds. Doohan, riding for the first time since he broke his leg in the Dutch Grand Prix eight weeks ago and clearly feeling the effects of the injury, managed only 12th place on his Honda and did not pick up any points. After the race he said he was not giving up the title, and hoped to be much fitter for the final event, in South Africa next month.

Heavy rain on Saturday had cast doubt on whether the race could be held. Riders, furious about safety standards at the Interlagos circuit, said rain aggravated an already dangerous situation, but despite further heavy rain overnight, the track dried out during the morning.

Rainey was not threatened after putting distance between himself and the pack on the first lap. John Kocinski was second on a Yamaha and Doug Chandler completed an American 1-2-3 on a Suzuki in a race marked by caution.

BRAZILIAN 500cc GRAND PRIX (Sao Paulo, 28 laps, 121.8km, 75.7 miles): 1 W Rainey (US) Yamaha 48min 33.539sec (ave speed 149.563kph, 92.937mph); 2 J Kocinski (US) Yamaha 48:46.549; 3 D Chandler (US) Suzuki 48:54.294; 4 W Gardner (Aus) Honda 49:02.432; 5 M Du Hamel (Can) Yamaha 49:04.773; 6 A Criville (Sp) Honda 49:04.793; 9 N MacKenzie (GB) Yamaha 49:35.826.

World championship standings (after 12 rounds): 1 M Doohan (Aus) Honda 130pts; 2 Rainey 128; 3 Schwantz 91; 4 Chandler 84; 5 Kocinski 82; 6 Gardner 63.