Rossi Victorious and Peerless in Front of Mugello Home Crowd Valentino Rossi held his nerve and maintained his race-long aggression to outpace his rivals not once but twice at Mugello in today's Italian Grand Prix. In doing so he seized his ...
Rossi Victorious and Peerless in Front of Mugello Home Crowd
Valentino Rossi held his nerve and maintained his race-long aggression to outpace his rivals not once but twice at Mugello in today's Italian Grand Prix. In doing so he seized his second win since joining the Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Team, in outstanding style. His team-mate Carlos Checa fell on the 4th lap in the first sector of a two-race event, putting himself out of the subsequent re-start, the only one which would count for points.
The initial race was stopped with five laps remaining after the riders raised their hands to signal that the threatening rains had actually started. A six-lap restart would determine the ultimate classification of the race, with the first section now nullified.
Rossi, who had led Sete Gibernau's Honda on the last of the laps in the first running, repeated the trick in seemingly impossible conditions. The 25-year-old from Tavullia won by 0.361 seconds in the restart. With treacherous conditions to deal with Rossi was in a six-rider group at one stage, before asserting his class and quality to outrun Gibernau and third placed Max Biaggi (Honda) in what proved to be a sprint race of maximum risk and changeable traction.
If the second running was a minor classic, the opener was conducted on a no less grand scale. Rossi drew roars from the crowd as he took the advantage from the start, leading into the first corner with his great Italian rival Max Biaggi in second place. Checa, in eighth position, had already made a three place jump from his 11th place start, only to fall on lap four. A huge crash on the main straight for Shinya Nakano (Kawasaki) saw debris littering the track surface; the Japanese rider escaped serious injury by a whisker, although the race continued until the rains descended on lap 17.
The riders lined up for the restart in the order in which they finished the first segment, with Rossi on pole, Gibernau second and Biaggi third. Checa, having fallen in the first part, was not allowed to restart. With this second Yamaha victory Rossi now sits second in the championship on 76 points, ten behind leader Gibernau and four ahead of Biaggi. Checa ended his Mugello race weekend in overall fifth, with 36 points.
VALENTINO ROSSI (1st)
"To win in front of all these people is incredible. It's hard to explain the emotion I felt when I heard the crowds cheering for me on the last few laps. I need to say thank you to all of them. It was like winning twice today. The first one was in the dry, where it seemed like I made thirty or forty overtaking manoeuvres. Every lap there was a fantastic battle with Sete, Max and Tamada. It would have been difficult to win in the dry with Gibernau, but the new race in the rain was held in incredible conditions. To run with a slick on a wet track was very strange at the beginning but fortunately it stopped raining and it was possible to push to the win."
CARLOS CHECA (DNF)
"I passed Capirossi through the second chicane and then on the next corner I opened the gas and lost the rear. Obviously I'm very disappointed and I don't really know what to say. It has dented my morale a little bit. One good thing is that I have been able to retain fifth position in the championship. Now we're going to Barcelona where a good result is really important in front of my home crowd. I hope things will go better there. "
JERRY BURGESS --VALENTINO ROSSI'S CREW CHIEF
"It was very satisfying to win after the second running as Valentino did so well in the first race, which didn't count in the end. We always make preparations in case of rain so we were ready. We had to put him on full slicks in the six-lap race, just like most others. It was a little tricky as the rain was probably heavier then than it had been when they first stopped it, but it all worked out."
DAVIDE BRIVIO -- GAULOISES FORTUNA YAMAHA TEAM DIRECTOR
"That was a really strange day but what a result! Valentino and the team worked so well to come out on top from the restart in such difficult conditions. I think we will all remember this race for a very long time. Unfortunately at the same time it was not a good day for Carlos; he started a difficult race from 11th on the grid, he knew it would be hard and didn't make it to the end. Hopefully he can keep his motivation because he's done a good job in the past rounds and Barcelona could be a great chance for him.
RESULTS (2nd Race)
1. VALENTINO ROSSI (ITA) Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha 12'06.803 2. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Telefonica Movistar Honda +0.361 3. Max Biaggi (ITA) Camel Honda +1.540 4. Troy Bayliss (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team +1.782 5. Ruben Xaus (SPA) D'Antin MotoGP +2.389 6. Alex Barros (BRA) Repsol Honda Team +2.446 7. Norick Abe (JPN) Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3 +5.842 8. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Ducati Marlboro Team +6.228 9. Marco Melandri (ITA) Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3 +6.461 10. Shane Byrne (GBR) MS Aprilia Racing +7.198
DNF - CARLOS CHECA (SPA) Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
1. Sete Gibernau (SPA) 86 2. VALENTINO ROSSI (ITA) 76 3. Max Biaggi (ITA) 72 4. Alex Barros (BRA) 48 5. CARLOS CHECA (SPA) 36 6. Colin Edwards (USA) 33 7. Loris Capirossi (ITA) 28 8. Nicky Hayden (USA) 27 9. Troy Bayliss (AUS) 23 10. Marco Melandri (ITA) 22