Italy: Michelin race report

Rossi Wins Michelin's 90th in a Row 85,000 fans witness home hero score brilliant win in difficult wet and dry conditions Michelin riders fill first 12 finishing positions and hold top 11 places in championship Valentino Rossi (Gauloises...

Rossi Wins Michelin's 90th in a Row

85,000 fans witness home hero score brilliant win in difficult wet and dry conditions
Michelin riders fill first 12 finishing positions and hold top 11 places in championship

Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) scored a heroic victory at Mugello today, winning a restarted Italian GP run in treacherous wet and dry conditions. The Italian genius beat points leader Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Hon da RC211V-Michelin) and Max Biaggi (Honda Camel Pons RC211V-Michelin) in the nail-biting six-lap sprint to score Michelin's 90th consecutive premier-class success. The French tyre brand hasn't been beaten in bike racing's biggest, fastest category since Ju ly 1998. Michelin riders totally dominated today's race, monopolising the first 12 finishing positions, and currently hold the top 11 places in the World Championship.

The race was restarted after a rain shower stopped the first race on the 19th lap. According to new regulations introduced last year, stopped races are annulled, the full result then decided over a restart that runs for the remaining race distance.

Most riders chose full slicks for the restart, the tyres working remarkably well even though rain was still falling on some parts of the track as the race got underway. "All our guys chose medium-compound tyres for the restart, they didn't even go for soft compounds because our tyres come up to temperature very quickly," revealed Nicolas Goubert, Michelin's chief of motorcycling competitions. "Slick tyres can be effective on a wet track, so long as they stay hot and there's no standing water. Both r aces were incredible to watch, though the pace of the first race wasn't super quick, probably because the guys up front were fighting so hard amongst themselves and changing places so frequently."

Rossi was the star of both outings -- battling back and forth with Gibernau and Makoto Tamada (Camel Honda RC211V) on Mugello's 340kmh straight in the first race, then assuming dominance of the restart. "They were both incredible races," said Rossi after his 61st GP win. "The conditions were amazing after the second start, it was strange running slicks in the wet, but then it started to dry out and I was able to push harder. The first race was also incredible -- maybe the lead changed 30 times."

Points leader Gibernau finished just 0.361 seconds behind Rossi, acknowledging his rival's prowess in the conditions. "Congratulations to Valentino, he was unbelievable in both races," said the Spaniard who had qualified on pole position on Saturday. "Maybe the rain helped him a little, but sometimes the weather can help to decide races. He pushed very, very hard, so did I, but although I got the fastest lap on the last lap it wasn't quite enough."

Biaggi was happy with third after a difficult two days of practice had left him sixth on the grid. "The result was okay but I'm not so happy because we never got the bike right during practice," said the Roman who struggled to stay with the leaders in the first race. "I couldn't really challenge them, so third was the best I could do today."

Troy Bayliss (Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici GP4-Michelin) briefly led the restart and came home fourth, having run sixth in the first race, sometimes cutting the same lap times as the leaders. Ruben Xaus (D'Antin MotoGP Ducati Desmosedici-Michelin) scored his best MotoGP result in fifth, just ahead of Alex Barros (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin).

-michelin-

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Max Biaggi , Valentino Rossi , Troy Bayliss , Alex Barros , Sete Gibernau , Ruben Xaus , Makoto Tamada
Teams Repsol Honda Team