Rossi destroys his own race record to score 41st premier-class win and fourth title World Champion discusses Michelin's part in his remarkable ongoing successes Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) continued his...
Rossi destroys his own race record to score 41st premier-class win and fourth title
World Champion discusses Michelin's part in his remarkable ongoing successes
Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) continued his amazing partnership with Michelin at Phillip Island today, winning the Australian GP to secure his fourth successive premier-class World Championship. Rossi enjoyed a breathtakin g race around the high-speed circuit with arch-rival Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V-Michelin), eventually crossing the line just 0.097 seconds ahead. Loris Capirossi (Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici GP4-Michelin) completed the podium, Mic helin riders monopolising the first seven positions at a track renowned for its demands on tyres.
"That was another good race for us," said Nicolas Goubert, Michelin's chief of motorcycling competitions after witnessing Rossi's 41st race win with Michelin. "The first three guys all chose different tyres, Valentino chose a hard rear, Sete a medium rear and Loris a soft rear, which proves that we can provide the right tyre whatever a rider's personal requirements. This is one of the toughest tracks for tyres, so choice is crucial but our tyres worked well even with the cold track temperature. My congratulations to Valentino, especially since he didn't have the easiest of weekends working on set-up, and especially because we wasted nearly a whole session for him by asking him to test some tyres that didn't turn out to be the best solution. Once again he has proved he is a unique talent."
The race was a cliffhanger -- Rossi surviving a scary off-track excursion on the first lap to chase early leader Gibernau. Once they were together at one-quarter distance they stayed just metres apart for the rest of the race, the lead changing no less than three times on the last lap, Rossi finally getting the upper hand into Lukey Heights.
Capirossi won a long contest for third place with Alex Barros (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin) who had Colin Edwards (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V-Michelin) snatch fourth place from him on the line. Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin) and Max Biaggi (Honda Camel Pons RC211V-Michelin) followed close behind in fifth and sixth.
"This is a fantastic end to a fantastic season," said Rossi, who destroyed his own race record by 27.7 seconds (including a ten second penalty added to his 2003 race time). "Again this year the lap times and race times are very much quicker, which comes very much from the tyres. All season we used the new 16.5 front and this tyre improves performance when you are attacking the corners, so you can use more entry speed and more corner speed. The rear is also a big step forward. This was work that Mich elin began when the four-strokes arrived, in 2002 we all had a lot of wheelspin, last year there was less spin and this year you never see anyone spinning like before. This is because the 2004 rear has a different profile and different construction. This t yre gives more sidegrip because you have more rubber on the ground, but for me the most important thing is the construction, which gives much better traction out of the corners."