Motorcycling: Schwantz in the swing as Rainey fades

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The Independent Online
THE Star Spangled Banner fluttered proudly in the breeze at Eastern Creek yesterday as Kevin Schwantz led home his fellow Americans, Wayne Rainey and Doug Chandler, in an Australian Grand Prix which provided the world 500cc championship with a vibrant beginning.

Schwantz's first win since the Italian Grand Prix last May was precisely the start the Texan wanted. Although he has won 20 grands prix he is still seeking his first world title.

Rainey, the reigning champion, had to push his new Yamaha hard to get past Chandler and then clung on to the tail of Schwantz's Suzuki over the final 12 laps, briefly taking the lead before settling for second, 3.118secs behind.

There was misfortune for two of the more prominent participants. Beset by injury, Michael Doohan, the Queenslander who won the corresponding event last year, was forced out by engine problems, while the American Freddie Spencer made an unhappy comeback, being knocked unconscious after crashing heavily. The Yamaha team, however, reported that he was not seriously injured.

AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX (Eastern Creek, Sydney): 500cc (30 laps, 117.9km): 1 K Schwantz (US) Suzuki 46min 21.885sec (152.573 kph / 94.807 mph); 2 W Rainey (US) Yamaha 3.118 seconds behind; 3 D Chandler (US) Cagiva 6.111sec; 4 D Beattie (Aus) Honda 12.430sec; 5 A Barros (Bra) Suzuki 36.435sec; 6 A Criville (Sp) Honda 36.672sec. Selected: 16 S Emmett (GB) Yamaha, 1 lap; 22 A Scott (GB) Yamaha, 3 laps. Did not finish: 28 K Mitchell (GB) Yamaha, 12 laps; 30 J Reynolds (GB) Yamaha, 22 laps; 32 J McWilliams (GB) Yamaha, 23 laps.

250cc (28 laps, 110.040km): 1 T Harada (Jap) Yamaha 43min 57.049sec (150.222 kph/best lap 1:32.894); 2 J Kocinski (US) Suzuki, 0.030sec behind; 3 M Biaggi (It) Honda 6.160sec.

125cc (26 laps, 102.18 km): 1 D Raudies (Ger) Honda 42min 58.125sec (142.680 kph/best lap 1:37.819); 2 K Sakata (Jap) Honda, 12.995sec behind; 3 H Torrontegui (Sp) Aprilia 25.981sec. Did not finish: 22 N Hodgson (GB), Honda, 1 lap.

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