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Biaggi’s Motegi win overshadowed by drama

Published: 01 October 2003

Updated: 24 November 2014

Max Biaggi has won the Pacific GP at Motegi, beating longtime rival Valentino Rossi into second place.

But it was overshadowed by the disqualification of Makoto Tamada and John Hopkins. The Japanese MotoGP rookie finished the race in third place, but was later removed from the results after pushing Sete Gibernau in to the gravel at the end of the final back straight. Both riders were approaching 160mph when Tamada tried to cut underneath Gibernau on the brakes, sending the Spaniard off the track.

Gibernau took the hole-shot at the start of the race and managed to hang on to the front runners despite the fact that he was running a fever. While Biaggi, Rossi and Tamada were celebrating after crossing the line he simply stopped at the side of the track and lay his head on the tank through sheer exhaustion.

Hopkins, meanwhile, has been suspended for one race, having to sit out the Malaysian GP after a first lap incident that saw him skittle into Carlos Checa and Troy Bayliss. The crash also took out Colin Edwards, who went into the gravel to avoid the melee.

The disqualification of Tamada means that Nicky Hayden takes third place, with Sete Gibernau fourth.

Rossi put on another display of his superiority. Half way through the race the Italian ran wide going in to a corner and dropped back to ninth place. But his determination to finish on the podium saw him fly through the field and he was up in second place, chasing Biaggi again with five laps to go.

1) Biaggi. 2) Rossi. 3) Hayden. 4) Gibernau. 5) Melandri. 6) Barros. 7) Ukawa. 8) Capirossi. 9) Nakano. 10) Ryo. 11) Kiyonari. 12) Haga. 13) Jacque. 14) Aoki. 15) Roberts. 16) Pitt. 17) Edwards. 18) Serizawa. 19) De Gea

DNF: McCoy. McWilliams. Burns. Bayliss. Hopkins. Checa.

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