Brazilian Alex Barros denied Valentino Rossi an historic 12th win in one season when he nicked the win in the final 2002 MotoGP round in Valencia today.
There was drama right at the start, when Carlos Checa stalled on the grid. Jose Luis Cardoso, unsighted by the riders in front of him, accelerated straight into the motionless Yamaha. Despite the huge impact, at around 100mph, neither rider was badly hurt.
Rossi, chasing Mick Doohan’s record of 12 victories in one season, and Barros made the running right from the first corner, dragging Daijiro Kato and Max Biaggi with them.
There was to be no fairy-tale ending for the two-strokes in their last performance in the top class. The top four-strokes cleared off with a handful of laps and Garry McCoy couldn’t capitalise on his front row placing as he jump-started and was penalised with a stop/go.
At the front it was a duel between the two Honda RCVs of Barros and Rossi. The race went to the last lap when, despite running wide, Barros managed to haul it back on line and deny the Italian.
1)A Barros 2)V Rossi 3)M Biaggi 4)D Katoh 5)T Ukawa 6)S Nakano 7)J van de Goorbergh 8)J McWilliams 9)O Jacque 10)N Abe
1)M Melandri 2)R Rolfo 3)E Alzamora 4)R Locatelli 5) R de Puniet 6)D Checa 7)F Battaini 8)N Matsudo 9)A Debon 10)T Elias…14)A Vincent…17)L Haslam
Second place was good enough for Arnaud Vincent and Aprilia to wrap up the 2003 125cc world title this morning in Valencia.
The first Frenchman to take 125 title, Vincent finished 0.1 seconds behind local hero Danny Pedrosa. Vincent’s title rival, defending champion Manuel Poggiali could only manage seventh after he ran wide early on.
1)D Pedrosa 2)A Vincent 3)P Nieto 4)De Angelis 5)S Jenkner 6)H Barbera 7)M Poggiali 8)L Cecchinello 9)J Olive 10)G Borsoi…28)C Davies