Rossi digs deep for Mugello win
Valentino Rossi’s MotoGP victory in Mugello won’t be remembered so much for the way in which the defending champion scorched to another victory, so much as the race when Yamaha’s four-stroke challenge to Honda’s dominant RCV began to stir.
Max Biaggi pushed Rossi for most of the race, but in the last third Rossi really pulled the pin and had opened up a two and a half second advantage by the flag. Biaggi seemed delighted with his second position – his best result of the season.
His Malboro Yamaha team mate Carlos Checa could so easily have filled the third spot on the podium, but a last lap dice with Rossi’s Repsol Honda partner Tohru Ukawa ended when the Honda dragged away from the Spaniard down Mugello’s long straight to the finish line.
Britain’s Jeremy McWilliams pulled out with mechanical trouble after just five laps and to complete a miserable weekend for his KR Proton squad teammate Nobuatsu Aoki retired just after the halfway stage.
Both Suzuki’s also failed to finish. Sete Gibernau retired, while Kenny Roberts was sitting in fifth when he crashed out, later citing brake problems.
1)V Rossi 2) M Biaggi 3) T Ukawa 4)C Checa 5) A Barros 6) L Capirossi 7) N Abe 8) R Laconi 9) O Jacque 10) T Harada 11) S Nakano 2)J Hopkins 13) JM Bayle 14) J van de Goorbergh
1)Marco Melandri. 2) Roberto Locatelli 3) Fonsi Nieto 4) Toni Elias 5) Randy De Puniet. 6) Franco Battaini 7) Sebastien Porto. 8) Roberto Rolfo. 9) Shahrol Youzy. 10) David Checa….15) Jay Vincent. 18) Leon Haslam
1)Manuel Poggiali 2) Pablo Nieto. 3) Pablo Nieto. 4) Daniel Pedrosa. 5) Gino Borsoi. 6) Lucio Cecchinello. 7) Alex De Angelis. 8) Steve Jenkner. 9) Arnaud Vincent. 10) Andrea Ballerini….18) Chaz Davies.