Yamaha's Valentino Rossi scored a fantastic victory today in the Italian GP, the sixth round of FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP), held on the Mugello circuit in Tuscany. Second place had Ducati's Loris Capirossi, who now...
Yamaha's Valentino Rossi scored a fantastic victory today in the Italian GP, the sixth round of FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP), held on the Mugello circuit in Tuscany. Second place had Ducati's Loris Capirossi, who now shares the standings lead with Nicky Hayden, third with the Repsol Honda.
It was a result that Rossi badly needed after DNFs in the last two events in China and France, and something the Italian fans certainly were waiting for, and they were able to watch their hero receive the chequered flag. "That was for sure one of the toughest battles of my entire career", expressed Rossi.
The rider of the Yamaha number 46 was in the fight for the lead of the race from the beginning, having a strong battle with yesterday's pole winner, Sete Gibernau, until the Spaniard lost pace, eventually finishing in fifth place on his Marlboro Ducati ride.
"I got a really good start and after I passed Sete I tried to escape but it was impossible, he was so strong today", commented the winner.
The second part of Rossi's race had the other Ducati of Capirossi as his main rival, but the reigning World Champion managed to take the victory by half a second from his pursuer at the finish line.
"For a long time I didn't know where Loris was because he had a bad start but once he arrived I knew I was in for a hard fight," Rossi said. "I decided to let him pass and run behind him for a while but I didn't realise so many other riders were so close and they all came through!
Suddenly I was down in fifth and had it all to do again. It was just an amazing fight for everybody and I think it is fantastic that it went down to the final lap between two riders, two factories, two tyre manufacturers but just one country!", the Italian explained about the hard dispute for the victory.
Rossi really wanted a great result in his home GP and he achieved today a great competition. The seven times World Champion knows he is now closer in the standings and back in the title chase, although he just wants to enjoy this moment right now.
"I am unbelievably happy. To do it in front of so many fans, family and friends is a special emotion and I won't be thinking about the championship tonight -- just this wonderful race", he expressed.
This was the second victory for Rossi in the season after the one he took in Qatar and he has now matched Marco Melandri, who also won two times so far this year.
Capirossi surely wanted to win today in his home race, but his second consecutive second place finish allowed him to tie for the lead in the championship standings.
The Italian came back brilliantly from a sluggish start to take the lead on lap 15. From there he fought a thrilling duel with winner Rossi, ending the race just 0.575 seconds down the winner.
"My start was so bad and I had chosen quite hard tyres so I was a little bit quiet in the first few laps. When my rhythm came good I started overtaking guys, though it wasn't easy because everyone was going so quick today", Capirossi explained.
About the tight fight with Rossi and Hayden, Capirossi mentioned: "The battle with Valentino and Nicky was great, we overtook each other many times but always in a correct manner, it's always so nice to ride with Valentino. I enjoy races like that even if I don't win! To win here at Mugello is the best, but today I'm happy with second."
American rider Hayden was in the battle for the lead in the last laps but was unable to put his Honda in front and had to settle for third -- another podium finish while he waits for his first victory this year to come soon.
"It was a good battle and everybody was out for blood today. I've had a few hard battles like that for seventh but it's fun when it's for the lead. Everyone was trying hard but nobody did anything too crazy", remarked the rider from Kentucky.
Hayden also commented on the fight for the title, which seems to now have many candidates this year: "Now the season has really started, we know who's going to be there every week and it's starting to get good. We're coming to a few tracks I really like and tomorrow we'll do some testing which should help. I'm having fun but I definitely want to win some races along the way".
Hayden's teammate, Dani Pedrosa, took home fourth place with Gibernau in fifth and Melandri's Fortuna Honda in sixth position. Behind the French GP winner appeared Toni Elias, Kenny Roberts Jr., Makoto Tamada and John Hopkins rounded out the top ten places.
The standings shows a great fight with Capirossi and Hayden on top with 99 points each, followed by Melandri in third place with 89. Pedrosa is right behind, three points from the Italian, while Rossi is now fifth, alongside Casey Stoner, with 65 points.
The action and the speed of the Continental Circus continues on June 18th at the Circuit de Catalunya for the Catalunyan GP in Barcelona, Spain.