Mugello GP Results

The following release is from Honda...

A sun-baked crowd of 73,000 race fans lined the Tuscan hills of the majestic Mugello track to see Valentino Rossi (Repsol Honda RC211V) reign supreme in a thrilling race that was typical of the superb action this 5.245km track usually provides. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) was second and Max Biaggi (Camel Pramac Pons RC211V) third.

Temperatures rocketed into the 35 degree range and the track tarmac was scorched to 47 degrees by the beating heat as the grid lined up for a race where the sense of anticipation was palpable. With the three Italian main men on the front row headed by Rossi, and joined by Yamaha interloper Shinya Nakano, the first turn action would be intense.

It was Capirossi who launched his Ducati off the line best and he emerged from turn one in the lead from Biaggi and the flying Nakano. Rossi was down in seventh but in typical fashion he scythed his way through to fourth in the space of the first lap.

By lap five Nakano had been dispensed with by the home trio and the stage was set for some epic encounters along Mugello’s undulating series of off-camber turns and blind approaches. Biaggi went through to lead when Capirossi drifted wide at turn one, now approached from at least 328km/h (200mph) by the top men.

Then Rossi squeezed past Capirossi and the three knew they were in for a fight. The crowd knew it too and every time a move was pulled the crowd went berserk – this was epic stuff. So intense was the battle that no rider could accept being overtaken without coming straight back at the overtaker – to the extent that Biaggi and Capirossi were side by side bashing fairings for at least half of lap 16.

Eventually Rossi pulled clear but Capirossi hounded him all the way to the line and Rossi’s 1.4 second winning margin at the flag hardly reflects the effort he had to put in to achieve it, or the pressure he was under from two riders that never gave up the chase.

Rossi’s 53rd career win and his third this season was hard-earned. “That was a great show for everybody,” he said. “We were all three at the front and we had a great fight for the win. I would like to congratulate Max and Loris because they rode very well. At about half way through the race Max and Loris were fighting and it was possible to take some advantage. And at the end I just concentrated and kept my rhythm.”

Biaggi knew he’d made a major contribution to a storming race. “Third is a decent result but I really want to win,” he said. “I made a good start and I tried my best to hang on to the front but then Rossi came and then Loris passed me at the end of the straight. We passed and re-passed each other many times and had a good fight. Nobody crashed and I think we put on a great show for the fans.”

Another rider who never gave up was fourth-placed rookie Makoto Tamada (Pramac Honda RC211V) who got an appalling start from the third row of the grid and charged through the field respecting neither reputations nor conventional corner lines as he bulldozed his way through.

“I had a terrible, terrible, terrible start,” he said. “And that was a terribly, terribly, terribly tough race. I knew what the tyres could do and I knew I’d made the right choice for the race. There was lots of overtaking but no strategy from me. You don’t wonder whether to squeeze past on the brakes or whatever – you just think about stepping on it and pushing forward.”

Tohru Ukawa (Camel Pramac Pons RC211V) was unhappy with sixth. “I almost crashed passing Checa on the straight and I ran out of braking area,” he said. “It was hard today but I can’t be satisfied with the result, sixth is just not good enough and Catalunya can’t come soon enough for me.”

Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) was another disappointed rider, unhappy with seventh. And after his Le Mans win two weeks ago, the Spaniard was never really in the running here. “We had one problem after another,” he said. “We already knew that the bike wasn’t accelerating as it should and we paid for that in the race. In any case we could have done a lot better with what we had. Luckily we’re in Barcelona next and we can sort it out there.”

American rookie Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) had a torrid time on his first visit to this demanding environment and finished 12th. “Not a lot of fun really,” he said. “I never felt comfortable all weekend and I’m not sure if it was just the fact that I was trying to learn the place or we really needed to make some big changes here.”

Rookie Riuichi Kiyonari (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) managed a 13th place finish in his second MotoGP race and felt happy with his work. “I’ve picked up another three points,” he said. “I improved my times in the race and I’ve got to improve my starts too, with a better start I could have finished even higher.”

The points table is now dominated by Rossi with 115, with Max Biaggi second on 83 and Sete Gibernau with 72.

MotoGP Results:

1. Valentino Rossi, Honda, 23 laps, 43:28.008
2. Loris Capirossi, Ducati, -1.416 seconds
3. Max Biaggi, Honda, -4.576 seconds
4. Makoto Tamada, Honda, -13.210 seconds
5. Shinya Nakano, Yamaha, -13.411 seconds
6. Tohru Ukawa, Honda, -13.666 seconds
7. Sete Gibernau, Honda, -14.253 seconds
8. Carlos Checa, Yamaha, -22.811 seconds
9. Colin Edwards, Aprilia, -33.056 seconds
10. Olivier Jacque, Yamaha, -38.882 seconds
11. Marco Melandri, Yamaha, -38.977 seconds
12. Nicky Hayden, Honda, -48.639 seconds
13. Ryuichi Kiyonari, Honda, -50.183 seconds
14. Alex Hofmann, Kawasaki, -54.213 seconds
15. Garry McCoy, Kawasaki, -83.281 seconds
16. Andrew Pitt, Kawasaki, -97.287 seconds
17. Jeremy McWilliams, Proton, -5 laps, DNF, mechanical
18. Nobuatsu Aoki, Proton, -9 laps, DNF, mechanical
19. Troy Bayliss, Ducati, -13 laps, DNF, crash
20. Noriyuki Haga, Aprilia, -16 laps, DNF, crash
21. Alex Barros, Yamaha, -21 laps, DNF, crash
22. John Hopkins, Suzuki, -21 laps, DNF, crash
23. Kenny Roberts, Szuuki, -21 laps, DNF, crash

MotoGP World Championship Point Standings:

1. Rossi, 115 points
2. Biaggi, 83 points
3. Gibernau, 72 points
4. Barros, 46 points
5. Ukawa, 42 points
6. Bayliss, 40 points
7. Capirossi, 36 points
8. Nakano, 33 points
9. Jacque, 32 points
10. Hayden, 26 points
11. Tamada/Edwards, TIE, 25 points
13. Checa, 21 points
14. Norick Abe, 18 points
15. Haga, 17 points
16. Hopkins, 15 points
17. McWilliams, 14 points
18. Aoki, 11 points
19. McCoy, 8 points
20. Melandri/Roberts/Kiyonari, TIE , 6 points
23. Hofmann, 2 points
24. Pitt, 1 point
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George Obradovich
George Obradovich

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