No luck for Yamaha hopefulls
RaceThe 2002 edition of the Dutch Grand Prix at Valkenswaard presented an unusual race result when the finish flag had dropped. Normally the podium and various top ten places are filled with Yamaha riders, but this year it was not to be.
All Yamaha riders struggled in the sandy conditions and especially official supported rider and crowd favourite Mark de Reuver had a disappointing day, retiring with a mechanical problem. The other Yamaha title hopeful Frenchman Luigi Seguy finished in 19th place after fighting with fatigue.
The best Yamaha placed rider finally was Marvin Van Daele who came home in 12th place, picking up nine points, while Rui Goncalves from Portugal, who had qualified for the Main event via the last chance race, finished in 15th place for six points.
M. van Daele - 12th / R. Goncalves - 15th / L. Seguy - 19th / M. de Reuver - DNF
Due to a new qualification system De Reuver and Seguy, who both finished inside the top ten in the final 2001 standings, were sure of a starting position. Nevertheless De Reuver tried hard in practice and looked good, clocking a time of 153.601 for third quickest behind eventual race winner Steve Ramon and Eric Eggens. Seguy, still recovering from a nasty knee injury, was ninth fastest with a time of 157.440.
I enjoyed qualification, De Reuver said. I knew I could do okay on this track, although I must say this is not a typical Dutch sand track anymore after they changed the layout. Im finding it much harder than in previous years.
In the race it was quickly obvious that De Reuver was on a mission. He gated poorly, but then made an awesome passing move on several riders to end the first lap in third place. I was a little slow out of the start, but on the first corner I went wide and got some guys. I was a little lucky that I didnt crash because I hit the bank on the outside of the track pretty hard, had it not been there I would have crashed for sure.
De Reuver found the early pace not a problem, but noticed that his machine was slowing. After two laps the bike started loosing power, De Reuver said. Then Ben Townley passed me, soon after Brett Metcalfe also went by, I couldnt keep with them and I could feel the bike getting weaker and weaker. Then after 15 minutes the bike stopped. I am so disappointed, I was going for the win, next thing you know you'r out.
A faulty spark plug was diagnosed as cause of the problem.
Seguy expected to struggle in the race after a period of two month without riding, and it did not come as a surprise to him when he found himself riding for the minor positions.
I was really fighting to survive, Seguy said. In the first lap I was in 11th place, I made a mistake and dropped to 13th on lap three and I could not make up ground on the riders in front. I just slowly moved down the field. My condition is just so bad, I knew I would find the end of the race difficult.
Young Marvin Van Daele was disappointed with his result, despite finishing 12th. The Belgian rider began the race in 22nd place on the first lap, then fought hard to get the best possible result. By lap ten he had worked his way into 16th place, then with a solid final ten laps passed a few more riders to finish strongly as best Yamaha.
I had a bad start, Van Daele said. I was like in 30th place or something like that. I had good speed and expected to finish much better than I did. Had I got a good start I could have finished top ten easy.