For 17 laps, Taira has been gaining on the first-place Honda, No. 3, the Wayne Gardner/Masaki Tokuno team. Tokuno is on the bike now, and Taira has him in his sights. On the last corner, Taira slips by. He extends the lead, and by the time he hands machine over eight laps later, the FZR is 26 seconds ahead. The effort and heat have tolled on Taira, who is drenched with sweat. Roberts puts his arm around Taira’s shoulders as the bike is refueled and has its tires changed, its lead evaporating all the while. Then Roberts disappears onto the track, and Taira disappears into the air-conditioned trailer.