Italian MOTO GP Results

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
It was a run-away victory for somebody in Italy, and it was in front of his home crowd, too. Actually, there were two Italians in the top three.

So who did what? Read on to find out...

Valentino Rossi (Repsol Honda Team RCV211V) took his fourth win of the 2002season after 23 tough laps of his home circuit of Mugello. The reigningWorld Champion exercised faultless tactics throughout and was virtuallyunchallenged at the end, slowing as he pulled a celebratory wheelie overthe line to take a margin of victory of 2.404 seconds from his greatItalian rival Max Biaggi (Yamaha). Rossi's team-mate Tohru Ukawa (RepsolHonda RC211V) finished third.

Taking the holeshot from his fifth consecutive pole position, Rossi pulledout an immediate lead but could not shake off the attentions of the closingYamaha pairing of Carlos Checa and Biaggi. Rossi's fellow Italian passed onlap seven and held him at bay until 11 laps remained. A determined Rossire-asserted his authority over proceedings and soon made a gap that grewinexorably each lap, until he was over three seconds ahead in the closingstages.

Despite his eventual dominance Rossi was unconvinced that he could score aneasy win, especially as he fell in warm-up and opted for a slightly softercompound rear tyre than most.

"Earlier today I did not think it would turnout this way because I made a mistake and lost the front," said Rossi ofhis dramatic morning crash. "I think that was my first ever career crash inwarm-up, so I realised that I had to ride more sweetly than yesterday. Iknew it would not be possible to do the whole race at 100% but it means alot for me to win in front of my home fans. It's very emotional to winagain at Mugello, because I haven't done it since 1999."

Rossi's win improved his table-topping position, with the Italian riderleading by 43 points from Ukawa. "My lead is better but it is a longchampionship and we have to concentrate for all the season," stated Rossipost-race.

In a piece of pre-arranged theatre during the slow-down lap, two of Rossi'sfriends, dressed as local policemen, stopped him in front of his massedrank of fan-club members and issued him with a speeding ticket fortraveling at nearly 200mph.

With Biaggi second, the final podium spot went to Ukawa who battled pastCheca, their race-long squabble settled on the penultimate blast down thelong finish straight. "There is something special about this track that Idon't like, because I usually crash or have some other bad luck," said arelieved Ukawa, whose RCV became the fastest-ever MotoGP bike, clocking324.5kmh in final qualifying. "It all came down the last two laps in thisrace and luckily we have a slight speed advantage over the Yamahas here. Igot third, so that makes me happy. I am still second in the championshipbut there is a big gap to Valentino."

RESULTS:Race Classification MotoGP: (23 laps - 120.635 km)Pos./Rider/Nation/Team/Motorcycle/Time/km/h1 Valentino ROSSI /ITA /Repsol Honda Team/ HONDA/43'40.837 -165.705 km/h2 Max BIAGGI/ ITA /Marlboro Yamaha Team/ YAMAHA/43'43.241 -165.5533 Tohru UKAWA /JPN /Repsol Honda Team/ HONDA/43'52.126 -164.9944 Carlos CHECA /SPA /Marlboro Yamaha Team/ YAMAHA/43'52.245 -164.9865 Alex BARROS/ BRA /West Honda Pons/ HONDA/43'56.208 -164.7386 Loris CAPIROSSI /ITA /West Honda Pons/ HONDA/44'00.847- 164.4497 Norick ABE/ JPN /Antena 3 Yamaha d'Antín/ YAMAHA/44'07.284 -164.0498 Regis LACONI/ FRA /MS Aprilia Racing/ APRILIA/44'11.170 -163.8099 Olivier JACQUE/ FRA /Gauloises Yamaha Tech 3/ YAMAHA/44'11.265 -163.80310Tetsuya HARADA/ JPN /Pramac Honda Racing Tea/ HONDA/44'11.596 -163.78211Shinya NAKANO /JPN /Gauloises Yamaha Tech 3/ YAMAHA/44'14.999 -163.57212John HOPKINS /USA /Red Bull Yamaha WCM/ YAMAHA/44'18.552- 163.35413Jean Michel BAYLE FRA /Red Bull Yamaha WCM/ YAMAHA/44'58.640 -160.92714Jurgen vd GOORBERGH NED /Kanemoto Racing/ HONDA/45'00.637 -160.808Fastest lap: Tohru Ukawa, 1m 52.601s - 167.689 km/hWORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS:1 Rossi 120,2 Ukawa 77,3 Capirossi 55,4 Abe 52,5 Biaggi 43,6 Checa - Barros 40,8 Kato 39,9 Aoki 28,10 Laconi 26,11 Jacque 22,12 Harada 21,13 Ryo 20,14 Roberts 19,15 Hopkins 18.
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