No one ever questioned whether Valentino Rossi would win a race on the Yamaha. Sure the inline four M1 hadn't won a race since 2002. Its highest finish in 2003 was third. But we knew Rossi could win, the question was; when will he win it? Rossi's...
No one ever questioned whether Valentino Rossi would win a race on the Yamaha. Sure the inline four M1 hadn't won a race since 2002. Its highest finish in 2003 was third. But we knew Rossi could win, the question was; when will he win it? Rossi's answer was as loud as thunder in the HRC tent.
Today, Valentino Rossi has become the first motorcycle racer in history to win back-to-back races on different manufacturers. Rossi knew he needed to lead from the start. In the past, he would have followed and only begin to make his intentions known after a pace had been set. Not this time, Rossi, Biaggi and Gibernau quickly began to break away from the rest of the field.
Within a few laps, the Roman Emperor began to break lap records while chasing Rossi. Rossi responded, with Gibernau staying in contact with the Italians. After mid race, the pace got even faster and Sete was its first victim.
Behind Gibernau, were Nicky Hayden and Colin Edwards. The two Americans fought for most of the race, but struggled to keep the pace being set in the front. A fourth place finish was not to be for Hayden, as Alex Barros eventually took that position. Hayden finished fifth, followed by a valiant finish by Capirossi who struggled throughout the entire weekend. Edwards took seventh place, followed by Makoto Tamada, Norick Abe and Carlos Checa.
Like many had predicted, the pace this year was going to be so high, that matching last year's times was not going to be enough, and Suzuki's, Kawasaki's, Aprilia's and Proton's improvements were not enough.
WSBK boys, Neil Hodgson and Ruben Xaus, had a terrible debut. They qualified 15th and 16th respectably. By mid race, both D'Antin riders had retired.
Rossi does not get emotional very easily, and if you had five World Championship trophies on your mantel you wouldn't either, but this race meant so much to him that he had to pull off the track on the cool off lap. Rossi was in disbelief, he'd proven to the world why those trophies were on his mantel and not yours. Perhaps he'd proven to himself that it was him that won those championships and not the machine.
So the first shot has been fired and from the looks of it, it made its point loudly. Rossi is back and like ElMundoDeportivo.com said, the difference between the Honda and the Yamaha is in Rossi's right-hand fist.