Rossi Run Away Winner in Estoril Reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi put on a show of supremacy today, storming clear to win the Portuguese Grand Prix by more than five seconds from Honda rider Makoto Tamada. Fellow Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha...
Rossi Run Away Winner in Estoril
Reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi put on a show of supremacy today, storming clear to win the Portuguese Grand Prix by more than five seconds from Honda rider Makoto Tamada. Fellow Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha rider Carlos Checa also rode a strong race and made up five places on his starting grid position, finishing in fifth.
Starting from second in perfect sunshine, Rossi was behind Loris Capirossi at turn two but shortly after passed the Ducati rider and took the lead. He was unchallenged for the rest of the 28-lap race and crossed the finish line 46 minutes later, taking his sixth victory in his debut season with Yamaha and the 65th of his Grand Prix career. Checa spent the early part of the race engaged in a battle for fifth with fellow Yamaha rider Marco Melandri, before the Italian fell on lap seven, leaving Checa to hold onto fifth place ahead of John Hopkins (Suzuki).
Rossi now leads the Championship standings by 29 points ahead of Honda's Sete Gibernau, whilst Checa has moved up the ranks one place into sixth. The MotoGP paddock now packs up to embark on the annual four-race 'flyaway' series before returning to Spain to round off the season. Rossi, Checa and the Factory team will stay on at the Estoril circuit tomorrow to continue their test programme before leaving for the next round in Japan.
VALENTINO ROSSI (1st)
"This was a super important race for us. It didn't rain last night so the bike had more grip today and my team worked so hard this morning on the bike to improve the set up. My start was not great but I managed to stay first for the first few laps and the tyres held out really well, so I was able to push through right to the end in the lead. I really wanted to push a lot from the beginning because I knew that if someone else was close at the end it would be really hard, because everyone's tyres would be moving around a lot. The bike was great today so thanks to Yamaha and everyone in the team for all the hard work."
CARLOS CHECA (5th)
"I am satisfied with the race result because I started from tenth on the grid and I've improved a place in the Championship. After a few laps I felt the tyre go down a bit so I am pleased that I could hold onto my position. However I can't accept the difference between Valentino and I; I know he's the best rider but I feel that I must improve and close the gap between us. We need to analyze my performance today and I am going to push myself and my team to improve for the last five races."
DAVIDE BRIVIO, TEAM DIRECTOR
"Valentino made a great race, always alone, and that shows how strong he was today. It's of course a very important result for the championship, as we have created a bigger gap from our competitors. Hopefully we will be able to manage like this in the next race as well in Motegi if we face any difficulties there. Yamaha and the team worked very hard here, and this result gives us even more of a boost for the final races. Carlos, despite the trouble he had in warm up this morning, did a good race. We will work with him to improve, he can do better. We won't stop working now, we're staying here to test some new parts and we will try to be as prepared as possible for Motegi where we know it won't be easy."