Rossi wins despite penalty

Published: 14 October 2003

Valentino Rossi has won the penultimate MotoGP race of the year in fantastic style, taking the win despite incurring his second time penalty of the season.

Rossi had a bad start to the race, running wide on the second lap and dropping down to sixth position but the Italian stormed back to the front in typical style to take out a three second lead over Ducati’s Loris Capirossi by lap nine. But it wasn’t going to be that easy to win this race.

Troy Bayliss, who won both World Superbike races at the circuit last year, was running in second place behind Marco Melandri when he lost the front end on one of the high speed sections of the track. The fall knocked him unconscious as he slid across the gravel and officials brought out the yellow flags.

In a re-run of the escapades at Donington earlier this year, Rossi failed to see the flags and proceeded to earn himself a 10-second penalty for passing Melandri’s Yamaha.

By the time Rossi learnt of the penalty he was already well in the lead so rather than admit defeat he decided to see what he could do about it and cranked the throttle wide open. The world champion stretched his lead by seconds each lap and by the end of lap 23rd he had managed to work his way back in to an official first place.

Second placed Capirossi simply couldn’t match the hot pace set by Rossi and the Ducati rider eventually crossed the line well over 15 seconds down to give Rossi the win.

Bayliss’ crash pushed Rossi’s Repsol Honda team-mate Nicky Hayden in to first place for the first time in MotoGP but it didn’t last long as first Rossi and then Melandri stormed past. He then hit some debris on the track on lap nine and dropped down to sixth place.

Marco Melandri was flying on the Yamaha when he highsided on lap 14 leaving Loris Capirossi in second place followed by Telefonica Honda rider Sete Gibernau. Hayden managed to claw his way back up to fourth behind Gibernau but had to wait until the last lap for the opportunity to squeeze past the Spanish rider on the outside and take his first GP podium.

Shortly after his crash Bayliss regained consciousness and was left without any serious injury.

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