Rossi comfortably wins Spanish GP

In a race seemingly without much emotion, Valentino Rossi claimed his victory of the season on board his 800cc Fiat Yamaha in the Spanish Grand Prixm held this weekend on the Jerez de la Frontera circuit. It was the second round of the 2006 FIM...

In a race seemingly without much emotion, Valentino Rossi claimed his victory of the season on board his 800cc Fiat Yamaha in the Spanish Grand Prixm held this weekend on the Jerez de la Frontera circuit. It was the second round of the 2006 FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP).

"It was a fast race and a great battle with Dani (Pedrosa)," Rossi said. "I pushed hard from the beginning and built a small advantage lap by lap."

Dani Pedrosa came in second place with the Repsol Honda in front his home crowd, followed by Colin Edwards, who completed the podium on the other bike of Fiat Yamaha.

At the start of the action, Pedrosa, who led the riders from the pole position, was only able to lead for a few metres before Rossi jumped to take the first place.

From that point, the Italian led the field throughout the race, though Pedrosa as able to stay on Rossi's tail throughout the first half of the race, with the gap consistently under a second each time the pair crossed hte finish line.

In the latter stages Rossi's Yamaha was just too fast, though, and Pedrosa slipped back slowly but steadily, finishing 1.246 seconds adrift by the end of the race, much to the disappointment of his supporters in the grandstands.

Edwards couldn't quite match his team leader's speed, and finished 3.3 seconds behind Pedrosa. However, he did manage to keep another hometown hero, Toni Elias, at bay, even as Elias surged in the latter half of the race.

"I am very happy with fourth place today," Elias said. "I struggled a bit at the start of the race because I could not get the tyres up to temperature quickly, but it was possible to keep ninth place in the initial laps. When the rivals in front of us started to drop their pace a bit, (I made) my way through the field and recovered some ground."

Elias finished fourth on the Gresini Honda, right ahead of Casey Stoner, winner two weeks ago in Qatar with the Ducati Marlboro. Elias gave his his team much to cheer with his performance this weekend.

"It wouldn't have been too tough if we'd got away with them at the start but we just didn't seem to have it there at the beginning of the race and then I got shuffled back a fair way by a few dodgy pass manoeuvres," Stoner explained. "Once we'd got our rhythm and finally got past Marco (Melandri) and Carlos (Checa) then we were free to put in some good lap times and push further forward."

Ducati's lead rider, Loris Capirossi, was outperformed by his younger teammate again, and he finished well back in 12th place, nearly 26 seconds off Rossi's pace. Capirossi, who had a strong 2006 season, has struggled so far in the new 800cc MotoGP era.

"At the start something happened with the engine, I got a bad start and after..." Capirossi rued his race. "Well, I didn't ride so well. I'm not happy, I had a bad race. Yes, I finished, but this is not the way I like to race. The track conditions weren't bad today, the tyres worked well, but maybe my riding style doesn't perfectly suit the engine character. It's a thing I have to work on - trying to adapt my style."

Another local rider Carlos Checa, on his Honda LCR, completed the top six places, ahead of current world champion, Nicky Hayden, who had another hard weekend with his Repsol Honda.

It was the 58th race victory for Rossi in MotoGP since his debut in 2000 season and the 84th when including his success in 125cc and 250cc classes.

Next round for the Continental Circus will be on April 22nd in the Istanbul Park Circuit for the Grand Prix of Turkey.

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Carlos Checa , Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Colin Edwards , Toni Elias , Casey Stoner , Dani Pedrosa