NOS Sports•yesterday, 3:24 PM
“Yes, this is beautiful, right? I’m very happy about it too.” It is clear that Hans Spaan cannot regret for a moment that he is no longer the last Dutch motorcycle racer to win a grand prix. After no less than 33 years, Collin Veijer replaced him on Sunday by racing to victory in the Moto3 class in Malaysia.
The patience of motorsport-loving Netherlands has been put to the test all this time. Also that of the now 64-year-old Spaniard, who celebrated his last success in Brno in 1990 at the Grand Prix of – at that time – Czechoslovakia. “I’ve been waiting for it for a long time and I also doubted for a long time whether a Dutchman would ever come again. But at the beginning of this season I thought: if anyone could do it, it would be Veijer.”
‘At the right end’
The Dutch ace in the lightest motorcycle category had already finished fourth three times when he finished third in Thailand two weeks ago and was on the podium for the first time. “Then you’re really close, aren’t you? I often talked about it with my old team boss Arie Molenaar: it could just happen that that boy wins a grand prix. And now I think: I’m right after all.” had an end.”
Veijer reacted remarkably coolly to his personal scoop in his debut year: “We were already reasonably on our way to this. You are just busy with this; it is actually just your job. If you want to be the best in the world, you have to achieve such results. It is of course special, but this is what I am doing.”
There was no exuberant party. In fact, 18-year-old Veijer, who was not allowed to open the traditional bottle of champagne on stage in Sepang due to his age, did not even celebrate his victory at all. “No, because we have Qatar next week. I’m actually ready for that.”
Veijer will not celebrate historic Moto3 victory yet: ‘Now first the race in Qatar’
Spaan, who only won his first GP at the age of 30, praises that attitude, as shown on Sunday evening in the radio program Along the line. “That’s the right mentality. In one word. Look, when you win your first Grand Prix, you’re very happy. But if you’re only concerned with ‘I’m very good, I can drive very well’, if you thinks about yourself, then you won’t get there.”
Spaan, who when he retired from racing at the end of 1994 had nine GPs to his name and had been vice world champion twice, had sat in front of the television at five o’clock on Sunday morning to follow the race in Malaysia. He was again very impressed by Veijer.
“When I see that… He controls the machine completely. He puts the bike where he wants it and almost never flies out of the corner. He is very tight with steering. You saw that again on Sunday morning: in the corners there was He’s just faster than the rest.”
“He really deserved it. He rode so strong. On a circuit he had never been to before. After the first training he was 29th or so. During the second training he was one step higher. And he was in qualifying. ultimately where it should be.”
From the second starting spot, he eventually won the race by taking the lead at the start of the last lap and never relinquishing it. He referred teammate and number two in the World Cup standings Ayumu Sasaki to second place and ranking captain Jaume Masia to third.
And now on to Qatar. “Yes, that’s how it is. I won in Assen,” Spaan remembers in 1991. “Everyone was in a party mood and I had to do this and I had to do that and I had to go to Studio Sport. But I was already busy with the next competition, in Belgium. And luckily I won that one too. That’s how it goes: it’s just your job. “
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