Rossi on Top Again as Yamaha Rules in Catalunya Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha rider and reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi won his second consecutive Grand Prix in Catalunya today, leading a charge of three Yamahas into the top four places.
Rossi on Top Again as Yamaha Rules in Catalunya
Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha rider and reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi won his second consecutive Grand Prix in Catalunya today, leading a charge of three Yamahas into the top four places. Rossi's team-mate Carlos Checa rode a fantastic home race to finish fourth after starting 12th on the grid, whilst Yamaha Tech 3 pilot Marco Melandri landed the first podium of his MotoGP career, finishing third behind Honda rider Sete Gibernau.
Starting from second on the grid, Rossi took a close lead from Gibernau for two laps before running wide and surrendering his place to the Spaniard. He then stuck close to Gibernau's heels as the two quickly opened up a distance from the chasing pack. Checa meanwhile began to move up through the field with a series of bold passes, finding himself in fifth by lap 12 and fourth a few laps later. Rossi and Gibernau swapped the lead twice more, before Rossi passed his rival once again two laps from the end, hanging on to win by less than two tenths of a second ahead of Gibernau. His back-to-back victories are the first for Yamaha in the premier class since Garry McCoy scored two in a row in 2000. Rossi now sits five points behind Championship leader Gibernau in the standings, whilst Checa moves up to fourth.
VALENTINO ROSSI (1st)
"I'm really really happy to have won, first in Mugello and now here; they're both very important races for me. We've done a lot of fast work this weekend and my team and Michelin have worked so hard to improve the bike; we've literally been working every second we've had. After warm-up today we made another change to the bike, which paid off. It was a really hard race at the top level, and we went at a very hard pace. Sete and I were more than ten seconds ahead of the others. At one point Sete was able to get away but then he started to spin and slide so I was able to get in front again. To have won three races at this stage of the Championship is fantastic. I'm really happy to see the other M1s up front as well. Today was less dramatic but more tactical than Mugello, but still a great race."
CARLOS CHECA (4th)
"That was a good race as I started from 12th and finished fourth. I passed many riders during the race and for me this is proof that I could do well after what happened in Mugello. I had much more confidence in the front braking today so it was easier to pass people. By the time I caught up with Marco he was pushing hard but I couldn't keep the same pace anymore because of the tyres. I am so pleased with this result after yesterday's qualifying and my fall yesterday morning. This afternoon I recovered the feeling and pace. Tomorrow we have a test and I hope we can make some more improvements, especially on the softer tyres for qualifying."
DAVIDE BRIVIO, GAULOISES FORTUNA YAMAHA TEAM DIRECTOR
"What a race! It's been a very good day; unbelievable. We've had two victories at two circuits which we expected to find difficult. Yamaha and the team have worked so well and we've got a fantastic rider. Valentino rode a perfect race. This is a good day for Yamaha; Carlos had a brilliant race; it was very difficult for him starting from the fourth row but he didn't stop fighting for the whole race and finished fourth. It's good to see Marco doing well and Yamaha filling three out of the four top places. We are now really looking to enjoy the rest of the season! Thanks to everyone involved, today all their hard work and effort has paid off again."
JEREMY BURGESS, VALENTINO ROSSI'S CREW CHIEF
"We made some changes this morning and maybe they worked! This is a terrific result. We've now won consecutively at Mugello and Catalunya, which are fast circuits where the opposition has the advantage on speed, so we are really pleased with the results."