Rain or shine, Valentino Rossi has been unbeatable just about any time that
he has climbed on his Yamaha in this year's MotoGP championship, and that
was the case again in the rain today, at the British GP at Donington Park.
Start: Valentino Rossi leads the field.
The rain was falling, the riders were revved up, but the red lights
failed to come on. The riders looked up in anticipation but all they
could see was yellow flashing lights as the start was aborted. Pit
crews streamed back onto the grid to restart the engines and one minute
later the second warm up lap of the race was underway. Reduced to just
29 laps as a result, Rossi led his colleagues back around the
saturated Donington Park circuit to try again, the rain hammering down
onto the English circuit.
Round nine was finally a go, and Sete Gibernau took the lead with Rossi slipping
down to 7th place. Biaggi slid on the wet track with teammate and
the winner of the Laguna Seca event two weeks ago, Nicky Hayden, also
falling victim to the conditions. Despite a few moments on the wet
track, Rossi quickly made his way up to second place. Drivers were dropping like
flies with Marco Melandri and Troy Bayliss sliding out of contention and
race leader Sete Gibernau following suit, all within a few corners of
Rossi almost joined his rivals but managed to save the moment, if not the
position as Alex Barros took the lead from the Italian. Struggling to
stay on track, riders were cautious and John Hopkins took advantage of
the situation and snatched the lead from Barros on his Bridgestone-shod
Suzuki. A brave move on Barros elevated Rossi to second, but only
momentarily as the Camel Honda rider fought back and moved back into the
lead. All this in just seven laps!
Hopkins encountered problems and ran off the track, but thankfully he
managed to keep going and rejoin the action after a visit to the pits.
At the front of the field four riders kept changing positions, Barros,
Rossi, Roberts and Edwards, while just twelve drivers remained in the
actual race with two thirds still to run.
Race winner Valentino Rossi celebrates.
A rare mistake from Rossi saw him lose several positions but the
Yamaha rider wasn't discouraged and was soon back into second place.
He continued to apply pressure to Barros, but remained behind him. He
finally took the lead at the Melbourne hairpin on the 21st lap and
stormed ahead, smashing the lap record in the process. From this point
on, he didn't look back and went on to win his seventh race of
the season in usual Rossi style.
Kenny Roberts finished second with Alex Barros third, Colin Edwards
fourth, Carlos Checa fifth and Loris Capirossi in sixth.