Daijiro Katoh may have already wrapped up the world 250 title but he still managed to rub his rivals noses in it again with yet another success in Rio today.
It might not have been the typical runaway triumph that everybody has been accustomed to seeing this season, but Katoh still came out on top after an exciting 22-lap clash to underline his year-long domination.
Katoh, who won the title two weeks ago in Malaysia, made his decisive move on lap 20 when he passed surprise leader Roberto Locatelli.
With Locatelli fading slightly having led from lap 14, Marco Melandri was the only man left to challenge Katoh, but he could do nothing and Katoh departed 250s with win number 11 of 2001 under his belt. Next season he’s riding a works Honda 500 and that 11th success was a record for the most in one 250 campaign.
Katoh said: " It was a very hard race because the conditions were different for every lap. It rained a bit in the middle of the race but it wasn’t too bad. I wanted to win the last race and break the record which I’ve done. "
Melandri grabbed second to finish on the podium for the first time since the Estoril GP in Portugal back in September, while Locatelli grabbed third for his first rostrum since the opening race at Suzuka. Melandri said: " I tried to follow Katoh to pass him on the last lap but my bike didn’t work well under acceleration. I also had some gear change problems. "
Britain’s Jeremy McWilliams was always in the thick of the action at the front of the field until he started loosing touch with Locatelli, Katoh and Melandri with six laps remaining.
And he lost out on a battling fourth place at the last corner when pole-setter and early leader Fonsi Nieto passed him.