Yamaha takes back manufacturer's title in 500cc & 250cc classes
Yamaha takes its ninth manufacturer's title
Yamaha entered the 2000 season with three factory teams and 5 riders. Gary McCoy took three wins and Max Biaggi two. Norifumi Abe also took a single win. The final season rankings for the Yamaha riders were Biaggi 3rd, McCoy 5th, Carlos Checa 6th, and Abe 8th. The title itself ended up going to Kenny Roberts Jr. (Suzuki).
With consistent points gained in each race, Yamaha was able to achieve its ninth manufacturer's title.
In this year's competition, Biaggi took a long time to get himself up to pace due to an injury caused by a crash three weeks before the opening race. The only points that he could achieve up until the fifth round was a 4th place in the second round in Malaysia. Biaggi was able to show his true potential in the sixth round, his home GP in Italy. It looked as though Biaggi would take his first win of the season by holding off the two other Italian rivals, Loris Capirossi and Valentino Rossi of Honda. However, in the last lap Biaggi made contact with Capirossi and fell. Despite being able to get back into the race, he only managed to finish in 9th place. The race was nevertheless a real spectacle for the excited local fans.
Two months into the championship, Biaggi began to find his form and finished 5th in the seventh round in Catalunya and 4th in the eighth round in Holland. He continued to claim points in the ninth and tenth rounds while he got himself back on track. After the summer break, he started in pole position for the 11th round in the Czech Republic, leaving the field in his wake to claim his first win of the season. In the remaining five races he achieved 3rd places in the 13th and 15th rounds in the Valencia and the Pacific GPs. He dropped back to 6th place in the Australian GP before the final round. Despite qualifying in 12th position on after crashing his bike, he steadily closed in on Capirossi, Rossi and Alex Barros (Honda), displaying amazing determination. After conquering an extremely tight battle of four riders separated by only 0.4 seconds, Biaggi won his second race of the series. After increasing his points and his ranking to 3rd, Yamaha was also able to take the manufacturer's title.
Checa, on the other hand, was in good form during the early part of the season. He took four 2nd-place finishes in the first six races. At this point, Checa was tied for 1st place in the ranking. He began losing momentum after crashing out of the 7th round in Catalunya. His championship standing dropped to 3rd at the end of the 15th round. He crashed out again in the final race while fighting for the lead, which dropped him further down to 6th in the ranking.
Australian Garry McCoy was in the spotlight this year. McCoy, who joined Yamaha halfway through the previous season, participated in the full series from this year. He was noted for his unique riding style, where he power-slid the rear tire when entering the turns. He won the opening round, followed by a 3rd-place finish in the second round. McCoy was troubled by the bad weather and tire choice problems from round three onwards, but he regained form to take 3rd place in the 11th round in the Czech Republic. He was back on top of the podium with back-to-back wins in the 12th round in Portugal and the 13th round in Valencia. McCoy brought himself up to 3rd in the ranking after placing 3rd in the 14th round. However, having had to retire in the 15th round and finishing 5th in the final race, he had to settle for 5th in the season ranking. . McCoy's French teammate, Regis Laconi, could not find good form in the early part of the season due to a pre-season injury. He nevertheless was able to finish 12th in the championship standings by claiming points in each race, with a 5th-place finish being his best result of the season.
Abe in his sixth GP season won the third round, the Japan GP. He continued to fight in top positions, securing 2nd in the fifth and seventh rounds. He was ranked 3rd in the championship up to round 8, but crashes in rounds 11 and 13 meant that he ended the season ranked 8th.
French and Japanese riders battle for the title on YZR250
In the 250cc class, Shinya Nakano and Olivier Jacque continued as teammates at the Chesterfield Yamaha Tech3 team for the second year running. Before the final race in Australia there was only a two-point difference between them. Their fierce battle ended at the finish line with Jacque nosing ahead one tenth of a second to take the championship title. This put Nakano 2nd in the final ranking. It was the first time in seven years for a Yamaha rider to take the title in the 250cc class, ever since Tetsuya Harada managed to do so in 1993. It was also the first time since 1983 that the Yamaha riders finished 1st and 2nd in the final ranking.
Nakano kicked off the season on a high note by winning the first two races. Jacque, on the other hand, made a modest start to the season. He was placed 4th in the opening round, 2nd behind Nakano in round two, and 4th in rounds three and four in Japan and Spain respectively. In round five, Jacque showed staggering speed in his home race in France. Having taken the lead midway through the race, Jacque kept his lead for six laps. Despite allowing Tohru Ukawa (Honda) and Nakano to overtake him, he still managed to stay in 3rd place trailing, 2.5 seconds behind from the leader. Jacque showed that he is able to compete among the top runners by placing a gap of over 20 seconds against the rest of the pack. In the following round, a battle took place between Nakano and Jacque for the win. Nakano won by seven-tenths of a second, but it was from here that Jacque displayed his true potential. The seventh round of the season was held in Catalunya. Under difficult conditions in the rain Jacque took his first win of the season. From rounds eight to 13, Jacque constantly appeared on the podium, including a win in Germany. Having overtaken Nakano to stand on top of the ranking at the end of round 9, he led the championship table until the final round in Australia. Jacque and Nakano were only separated by two ranking points. The two riders clashed again in this final race. Jacque, who was directly behind Nakano throughout the race, slipstreamed past Nakano on the home straight to take his third win of the season by one tenth of a second to secure the championship.
Cate. Rider Machine 500cc Massimiliano Biaggi YZR500(0WK6) 500cc Carlos Checa YZR500(0WK6) 500cc Regis Laconi YZR500(0WK6) 500cc Garry McCoy YZR500(0WK6) 500cc Norifumi Abe YZR500(0WK6) 250cc Olivier Jacque YZR250 250cc Shinya Nakano YZR250
Pos. Cate. Rider Constructor Point 1 500cc K. Roberts Jr Suzuki 258 2 500cc V. Rossi Honda 209 3 500cc M. Biaggi Yamaha 170 4 500cc A. Barros Honda 163 5 500cc G. McCoy Yamaha 161 6 500cc C. Checa Yamaha 156 8 500cc N. Abe Yamaha 147 12 500cc R. Laconi Yamaha 106 Pos. Cate. Rider Constructor Point 1 250cc O. Jacque Yamaha 279 2 250cc S. Nakano Yamaha 272 3 250cc D. Katoh Honda 259 4 250cc T. Ukawa Honda 239 5 250cc M. Melandri Aprilia 159 6 250cc A. West Honda 146
Pos. Constructor Point 1 Yamaha 318 2 Honda 311 3 Suzuki 264 4 Aprilia 94 5 TSR-Honda 85 6 Modenas 20 7 Paton 1 Pos. Constructor Point 1 Yamaha 342 2 Honda 324 3 Aprilia 232 4 TSR-Honda 58