ROSSI SCORES 51st WIN WITH MICHELIN World champ continues to make history after thrilling race-long duel with Gibernau Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) continued his remarkable run of success at Brno today,...
ROSSI SCORES 51st WIN WITH MICHELIN
World champ continues to make history after thrilling race-long duel with Gibernau
Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) continued his remarkable run of success at Brno today, scoring his ninth win of the season after a relentless race-long duel with arch-rival Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V-Michelin). The pair were together throughout, until Gibernau's bike stopped just three corners from the flag, promoting Loris Capirossi (Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici) to second. Max Biaggi (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin) recovered from a fourth-row start to grab an impressive third-place result. Michelin riders filled six of the first seven finishing positions and hold the top seven places in the World Championship with six races remaining.
Rossi's 51st premier-class win, also his 51st success with Michelin, moved him into third overall in the all-time GP winners' list, surpassing Sixties GP legend Mike Hailwood. It also made Yamaha the second most successful factory, ahead of another legend from bike racing history, MV Agusta.
"Valentino rode another great race, it's special watching him make history," said Nicolas Goubert, Michelin's chief of motorcycle competitions. "But Sete also rode an excellent race, we would've been first and second if he hadn't had a technical problem on the last lap. Max was also very impressive, he worked really hard for that result. Overall, we're happy with the weekend, though the race pace wasn't as fast as we'd expected be after Sete had been so quick in morning warm-up. Maybe Sete and Valentino did a little waiting for each other, playing tactics, perhaps that's one reason why the race record was only broken by six seconds."
Rossi and his Spanish rival gave it everything to win MotoGP's comeback race following the sport's traditional summer break. Gibernau got the holeshot from pole position but a few corners later Rossi barged through to take the lead, only for Gibernau to return the compliment the next lap, setting the tone for the rest of the race. In all they swapped first position on seven occasions, Rossi taking the lead for the last time with two laps to go as Gibernau began to have problems.
"That was a very hard battle, one of the hardest this year," said Rossi, now 132 points ahead of second overall Biaggi. "We weren't too confident after warm-up because Gibernau was so fast, but I had some discussions with my team and they made some useful changes. I made a good fight with Gibernau, put pressure on him, got ahead but couldn't break away. Then he came back at me, so I waited until two laps from the end to make a good overtake."
Rossi crossed the line 1.8 seconds ahead of Capirossi, while Biaggi was less than two seconds further adrift. "It was difficult to come back from the fourth row but I did it, little by little," said Biaggi who came through from 11th on lap one to pass Alex Barros (Honda Camel Pons RC211V-Michelin) and Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin) the final two laps. "I composed myself and tried very hard to pass all those guys. The hardest was Barros, but I managed it. I'm really happy with this result after such a tough weekend."
Barros ended up fourth, just behind Biaggi and a fraction ahead of Hayden. Marco Melandri (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V-Michelin), who ran third during the first few laps, was sixth at the flag, seven seconds down on Hayden and two ahead of Colin Edwards (Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR- M1-Michelin).
Today was also a good day for Michelin's rally crew, Sebastien Loeb (Citroen Michelin) winning the German WRC round ahead of team-mate Francois Duval to further extend his World Championship lead.