Rossi Fourth and Checa Sixth at a Soaking Jerez Persistently wet conditions at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez upset the pre-race qualifying predictions and delivered a fourth and sixth place finish respectively for the Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha...
Rossi Fourth and Checa Sixth at a Soaking Jerez
Persistently wet conditions at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez upset the pre-race qualifying predictions and delivered a fourth and sixth place finish respectively for the Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha pairing of Valentino Rossi and Carlos Checa. The 27-lap race was held in fully wet conditions throughout making most riders opt for medium compound wet tyres front and rear. The race was something of a battle against the elements for all riders, with only 15 of the 23 classified as finishers.
Rossi and Checa, both starting from the front row, filed into the first turn behind early leader and eventual race winner Sete Gibernau (Honda). Coming under pressure from the riders behind, Rossi chose discretion at the start, as first Checa and then second place finisher Max Biaggi (Honda) passed him. A fight for second place saw the position swapped between Checa and Biaggi twice, but ultimately Biaggi made a small break, finding himself behind leader Gibernau, whilst Yamaha rider Marco Melandri powered through to take third place on lap four. Checa and Rossi held fourth and fifth positions respectively until Rossi mounted a successful attack on lap nine and Barros passed Checa one lap later.
Rossi survived a huge near-high-side at the exit of the first hairpin on lap 12 and Alex Barros (Honda) took the opportunity to glide past on the sodden track surface. With Melandri out on lap 19, after falling on the slippy track, Barros was promoted to third, Rossi fourth. After experiencing traction and vision concerns, Checa made a late attack on Colin Edwards (Honda) and duly passed him to finish in sixth place.
VALENTINO ROSSI (4th)
"Finally I am happy and relieved because it was a miracle not to fall off. It's a great shame because I couldn't go so fast at the end. I didn't have much grip, mostly from the rear and we'll have to work on set-up to improve this. It's strange not be on the podium because the last time was in Brno in 2002, when I had a tyre problem. Each lap I was trying to be more aggressive and the front of the bike felt okay. I think we have quite a gap to make with Honda in wet weather, but in general we have had a good weekend, with another pole position. One thing is for sure, this is going to be a great championship! Like I have always said, Sete and Max are going to be my main competitors."
CARLOS CHECA (6th)
"From the beginning I had some slides from the back. I had a problem with some water getting into my visor but basically I lost some traction from the rear and that was all. Then I got some confidence again in the rear tyre and was able to fight with Edwards. Some areas held more water than others but it is always a delicate job in these conditions. The set-up was not so bad overall, just not enough side grip to go any faster."
DAVIDE BRIVIO - Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Team Director
"This is not the weekend we expected. We knew it would rain but if it had been dry I think it would have been much different. We have to learn from today where we have problems in the wet, even if we are very competitive in the dry. Things were not so bad; we remain close to the top of the championship points with Valentino. Now we have to look forward to the next race and hope for dry conditions. This was a good experience to get information and to improve the bike."
<pre> 1. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Telefonica Movistar Honda 52'01.293 2. Max Biaggi (ITA) Camel Honda +5.452 3. Alex Barros (BRA) Repsol Honda Team +52.570 4. VALENTINO ROSSI (ITA) GAULOISES FORTUNA YAMAHA +58.556 5. Nicky Hayden (USA) Repsol Honda Team +59.283 6. CARLOS CHECA (SPA) GAULOISES FORTUNA YAMAHA +1'07.184 7. Colin Edwards (USA) Telefonica Movistar Honda +1'19.539 8. Kenny Roberts (USA) Team Suzuki MotoGP +1'45.057 9. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Kawasaki Racing Team +1 lap 10. Michel Fabrizio (ITA) WCM +1 lap