Jacque v Nakano: A title battle to the very end

Wednesday, 06 January 2010

The tussle for the 2000 250cc World Championship between the Chesterfield Yamaha Tech 3 team-mates was one which went down to the last lap of the last race, at Phillip Island.

Protagonists of one of the most exciting finishes ever to a World Championship, Frenchman Olivier Jacque and his Japanese team-mate Shinya Nakano took their fight for the quarter-litre title all the way to the final seconds of the 2000 season.
Separated by only a few points after 15 races of the campaign, the duo arrived for the final race of the year in Australia with tensions high. Jacque was the eventual victor as he slipstreamed Nakano and won the race by 0.014s.
““It was very risky. I could have overtaken him before but he’d had a very good season, a very good race and he also deserved the title, so I gambled. It was really risky, the last curve, the last straight,” said the Frenchman in an interview in 2006.
Jacque also remembered clearly the feelings before the start of the race.
“In Australia the winner of the Championship would be the one who finished in front of the other,” he added. “The pressure was very high, I remember, but it was very psychological. We were sharing the same room and changed in the same place. This was a hard time because you really needed somewhere to rest and concentrate.”
Nakano fought hard to compete with Jacque to prove himself, and pushed his team-mate all the way.
“The team were all French and so is Olivier, so if I was always behind him I couldn’t get anything. So that is why I tried to show my potential to the team staff, and that is why in every race and on every lap I pushed hard to finish in front of him,” said Nakano.
“This race I still remember,” he continued, turning his attention to the title decider. “Before the race my strategy was, of course to do my best, and push hard from the first lap. I did not pray, I just got out there and hoped that I would get the right result.”
In the attached video you can see both riders’ interviews as well as footage of their on-track contest. Tomorrow, motogp.com reviews the all-Italian rivalry between Valentino Rossi and Max Biaggi.

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