Biaggi wins Michelin'S 301st success Roman Emperor blitzes Donington race record by massive 26 seconds Michelin-equipped riders dominate, filling the top 12 finishing positions Max Biaggi (Honda Camel Pramac Pons RC211V-Michelin) was declared...
Biaggi wins Michelin'S 301st success
Roman Emperor blitzes Donington race record by massive 26 seconds
Michelin-equipped riders dominate, filling the top 12 finishing positions
Max Biaggi (Honda Camel Pramac Pons RC211V-Michelin) was declared winner of this afternoon's British GP after on-the-road winner Valentino Rossi (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin) was penalised ten seconds for overtaking under yellow flags. The penalty wa s imposed after the World Champion had passed Loris Capirossi (Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici-Michelin) at Redgate corner on lap two. Yellow flags had been displayed there following a lap-one accident involving (Honda Camel Pramac Pons RC211V-Michelin).
These flags are used to warn riders of dangerous situations -- marshals were still in the run-off area clearing debris when Rossi & Co were on their second lap. The revised result ends Rossi's amazing Donington run -- the Italian hadn't lost a race here since 1998. The race itself was a tense contest between the Italian arch-rivals, and the record 72,000 crowd might've been treated to a thrilling grandstand finish if early leader Biaggi hadn't taken a brief off-track excursion just before half-distance.
The pair dominated the race ahead of Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V-Michelin), the Honda trio's rivals some way behind after an early race crash dispersed the pack. The pace was viciously fast, Rossi's pre-penalty race time a massive 27 second s inside last year's, which was 20 seconds faster than the 2001 British GP. Michelin riders used their tyres' superior grip to dominate once again, filling the first 12 finishing positions. Michelin men also hold the top dozen places in the current World C hampionship standings.
"Valentino and Max chose different-compound rear tyres, so the last few laps would've been very interesting if they'd still been together," said Nicolas Goubert, Michelin's chief of motorcycling competitions. "Max went for a softer compound, but that doesn't necessarily mean that Valentino would have had more grip at the end of the race because Max's '250' style works less heat into the tyres. I think both men chose well for their own needs. We're very happy with the race, which shows that this is now a Michelin track!" Pole-sitter Biaggi led Gibernau from the start, Rossi getting away none too well, but quickly working his way up from seventh.
Riding with his usual fluidity, he was second after three laps, shadowing Biaggi until the Roman ran off at the Fogarty Esses on lap 13. From there, the result was never really in doubt. "That was tough because the pace was very, very high," said Rossi who crossed the line just 1.2 seconds in front. "I studied Max for many laps to plan my attack but there was no need after his mistake. He had a very good rhythm, we were inside the record almost every lap!" Biaggi had a straightforward reason for his error. "I got a false neutral braking into the chicane," he explained. "The bike got a bit sideways, so I preferred to take to the dirt rather than risk a crash by turning with the bike unsettled. But we rode a very fast race, so I don't think I could ask for more than this."
Gibernau was seven seconds down on his fellow RCV men at the flag after a lonely race, close enough for Rossi's penalty to promote him to second place. "They were just a few tenths faster every lap, so we just need to learn from this," said the Dutch TT winner, who last night received a special Michelin trophy to celebrate his winning the French company's 300th premier-class success at Assen a fortnight ago. Capirossi came in fourth, 14 seconds down on Rossi's pre-penalty race time, his hopes of gunning for another win spoiled when Marco Melandri (Fortuna Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) fell on lap five, his bike ending up in the middle of the track, forcing Capirossi and the rest of the pack to take time-wasting evasive action. "It was a miracle that I missed Marco's bike," said Capirossi, whose pace in the later stages was as quick as the leaders'.
Troy Bayliss (Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici-Michelin) was sixth, three seconds behind his team-mate, coming through strongly from ninth in the early stages. Carlos Checa (Fortuna Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) just hung onto sixth place under severe pressure from Noriyuki Haga (Alice Aprilia Racing Cube-Michelin). World Championship rookie Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin) was eighth, scoring his best result since the start of the European season. Shinya Nakano (D'Antin Yamaha YZ R-M1-Michelin) beat Colin Edwards (Alice Aprilia Racing Cube-Michelin) for ninth by two tenths.