China in your hand

THE ACTION, last seen on the Iberian Peninsula in Jerez and Estoril, moved to Shanghai, China, last weekend for the first time ever. First qualification was dominated by American Nicky Hayden who took provisional pole ahead of Movistar Honda team-mates Marco Elandri and Sete Gibernau. He slipped down to fifth after the final session however, one place ahead of championship leader Valentino Rossi. Gibernau headed the grid at the off, Melandri, Loris Capirossi and John Hopkins occupying second, third and fourth places. In wet conditions, Hopkins took the lead after the first bend only to be immediately eclipsed by Kenny Roberts and Rossi ploughing through the field and taking up the running shortly afterwards. The multiple world champion remained in charge, thereafter holding a commanding five-second lead until easing off over the last three laps. Unknown Olivier Jacque finished a sensational second with Melandri in third just ahead of the disappointed Gibernau.