news: MOTO GP


Despite having been crowned world champion for the fifth time in this category two weeks ago, Valentino Rossi still felt he had a point to prove here. Last year’s debacle of being relegated to the back of the grid and then tumbling out of the race weighed on his mind.

In free practice, the Yamaha rider took half a second off the lap record, only to be put in the shade by man of the moment Ducati’s Lums Capirossi, who claimed his third successive pole by shattering the new best time by a further two seconds! Sete Gibernau started next to him with Rossi and Colin Edwards on the second row. What developed was, afterwards, described as one of the best races of the season.

On a tight circuit that makes overtaking very difficult, Gibernau took up the lead from Capirossi on lap two. He stayed there until five laps from the end, when once again, he overshot a bend and ended his challenge in the gravel. Rossi in the leading trio was challenging strongly and passed his fellow Italian Melandri shortly before the finish to add lustre to his crown and wipe out the stain on his record from last season.

Rossi is now third in the all time list of podium finishes, equalling the legendary Eddie Lawson and remaining only two victories behind Mick Doohan’s record of 52 – 78 in all classes.