The seven-time World Champion, Valentino Rossi, came up today with his tenth victory of the season as the MotoGP tour disputed the 14th round at the Losail International Circuit for the Qatar Grand Prix. Marco Melandri, with Movistar Honda, and ...
The seven-time World Champion, Valentino Rossi, came up today with his tenth victory of the season as the MotoGP tour disputed the 14th round at the Losail International Circuit for the Qatar Grand Prix. Marco Melandri, with Movistar Honda, and Nicky Hayden, in a Repsol Honda, finished second and third, respectively.
"What a race! For me that was the best of the season, it was so much fun. I had bad memories from this circuit from last year so I really wanted to win and after practice yesterday I knew it was not impossible," stated the winner.
The last laps were a fantastic battle between the two Italian riders. "Marco Melandri was very strong and we had a great battle. He tried to pass me on the last lap but I was able to hold on and win," Rossi explained.
"I had two great rivals and all three of us showed that we were in very good shape until the end. We gave more than 100% and had a fantastic battle from the beginning to the end," the champion said, while he added: "I have to thank Yamaha and my whole team because my bike was very fast over the final few laps. My tenth of the season. I am very, very happy".
Despite the fact that he is not 100% recovered from the accident suffered two weeks ago in Motegi, Melandri did a great job of fighting for the highest step of the podium. "That was the best race of the season for me," commented Melandri, happy being back on the podium.
About the race, the former 250cc champion explained: "I didn't get a good start in the race, took it calmly for the first few laps and lost a bit of time as I made up the positions. I passed Edwards and Hayden to catch up with the leaders, the bike was running perfectly and my only thought was to finish on the podium," said Melandri.
"I tried to pass Valentino on the last lap but I made a mistake and ran off track," continued the Honda rider about the move in the end of the race as he tried to take the victory. "Despite that it was an incredible race and I'm really pleased to be back on the podium after a tough couple of weeks with the injury."
The second place put Melandri just two points behind Max Biaggi, who retired today, in the dispute for second in the championship.
American competitor Hayden added another top three finish this year with a strong pace riding in the second group of the race.
"I'm so happy to be to be on the podium today. Before the race things weren't going to plan. In the morning warm-up we were so slow and were in real trouble," mentioned Hayden about his journey to take the final podium spot.
However, the 24-year-old Hayden recovered and made a strong move to jump to third place in turn one and set the fastest lap at that moment. "My guys made some changes and I have to be real grateful to them as they got it right and that's why I got third," remarked the winner at the inaugural US GP in California. "The bike was so much better in the race than it had been all weekend - so much faster. The Michelins were brilliant - so much grip!"
Different luck is what Hayden`s teammate, Max Biaggi had. The Italian lived through another horrible weekend. Electrical problems in his Honda KO'd him halfway through the race. "The weekend started in a bad situation like in Sepang. After Motegi we've never been competitive at all. This is not just the set-up of the machine it's something bigger than that," said an unhappy Biaggi.
Movistar Honda's Sete Gibernau led most of the race, but a mistake in the last part claimed his chance to take his first season victory. He ended up in fifth place.
The Spaniard commented about the move: "I led the race until Marco came up to me, he was a little aggressive and during the battle I ran off my line. But it's no use complaining; we're doing some things well and some things badly".
Poleman Loris Capirossi couldn`t repeat his last two performances, which saw him win in Motegi and Sepang from the pole position; he ran off the slippery track, and eventually finished the race in tenth position on his Marlboro Ducati.
The MotoGP action will continue on Ocboter 16th at the Phillip Island circuit, in Australia.