Rossi Reinforces Championship Lead At Sachsenring Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha rider and reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi entered today's German Grand Prix in Sachsenring with a share of the World Championship lead, finally finishing in...
Rossi Reinforces Championship Lead At Sachsenring
Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha rider and reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi entered today's German Grand Prix in Sachsenring with a share of the World Championship lead, finally finishing in fourth place. After a dramatic and changeable race, he now carries a single point advantage over race winner Max Biaggi (Honda) to the next round at Donington Park in one week's time.
Rossi's fourth place came after an incident-filled race, and his team mate Carlos Checa was one of many riders who did not make the finish. The Spaniard tumbled out on lap five, shortly after passing a string of riders. Rossi encountered his own challenges in the final laps, running wide on two corners and experiencing a violent weave as he tipped into the fast left hand curve at the top of the hill, losing places on each occasion.
Rossi chased the eventual race winner Max Biaggi in the early laps, sitting second and harrying his fellow Italian throughout. Sete Gibernau (Honda) closed in on the pairing until he fell from third place on lap eight, allowing fellow Honda riders Nicky Hayden and Alex Barros to move in on the act. Rossi broke Biaggi's lead on lap 16, 0.7 seconds ahead at one stage, heading the order for a total of six laps. The young Italian's challenge for maximum points faded, however, when he lost places consecutively to Biaggi, Barros and finally Hayden.
Rossi hounded Hayden right up to the finish line to take 13 valuable Championship points. The Yamaha rider now sits on a total of 139 points, with Biaggi on 138 and Gibernau on an unchanged 126 in third. Checa lies in seventh place with 62 points.
VALENTINO ROSSI (4th, 42'27.787)
"It's a real shame that I fell off in Rio because I could have been 14 points ahead now. We made changes to the set-up before the race because we understood what the problem was at that time. The bike was going really well but the tyres were wearing on the left hand side and I would have risked crashing if I had pushed any harder. It was difficult to steer the bike towards the end. Honda has made another step forward and we are a bit behind. We need at least another race to make improvements, however we have still taken a present of some points today. Life is always a surprise. Max did really well and this has turned out to be one of Honda's tracks. Our bike consumed the tyres more than the Hondas here."
CARLOS CHECA (DNF, fell on lap 5)
"I lost the front but I was already on the gas. I simply did not have enough traction and I was carrying a lot of lean angle, so there was just not enough contact. It was my mistake. I need to be able to feel when I am on the limit but in a race situation this is not always easy to judge. I'm looking forward to Donington and I think we have taken a lot of good things from this weekend."
DAVIDE BRIVIO -- TEAM DIRECTOR
"Today we made some progress, and Valentino was good. He was fighting for more than half the race in front, keeping pace with Max and it was a perfect strategy. He passed Biaggi and tried to make a break but then in the last laps he could not keep the pace. This fourth place is very important when you look at the championship. We are back on top alone, even if only by one point. Carlos was going very well, as he did in morning warm up. In the race he was ready to stay with the top group. It's a big shame he fell off. During the weekend we made some good progress with our set-up. We have little time to think about this weekend now because we go straight to Donington."