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Rossi in imperious form as he takes fourth season win in Montmeló

Rossi in imperious form as he takes fourth season win in Montmeló

Valentino Rossi extended his lead at the top of the World Championship standings with a superb performance in front of a vibrant crowd in the Gran Premi Marlboro de Catalunya 500cc. Despite having had a terrible start, and then being forced wide and into 15th position at the first corner, Rossi clawed back the riders ahead of him, and won with over 2 and a half seconds to spare. It was very much the race that the fans were expecting in Mugello with an Italian one-two-three, but it came a couple of weeks later than expected in front of a packed Circuit de Catalunya.

Throughout the first lap Nakano led, but it was soon to be Capirossi who would take the initiative and lead the riders through the first half of the race. On the fourth lap, fourth placed Kenny Roberts Jnr. slid out after going too quickly into a right hander, and a couple of laps later, second placed Alex Barros followed him into the gravel. The cameras focused on Rossi, who by this point was progressing through the field, picking them off one by one. Loris Capirossi meanwhile was contending with a spirited performance from local rider Sete Gibernau, who was really getting the best out of his Telefonica Movistar Suzuki.

The decisive moment came on the thirteenth lap, when Rossi made his move past his countryman Capirossi on the straight. He then opened up a gap of four seconds, which the others were unable to do anything about. Max Biaggi did his best, and produced a superb comeback after having lain in 8th spot after the first lap; it seemed that what had been a disappointing weekend up until the race was going to be sealed. However, he managed to gradually plug away at the riders in front of him, and took Capirossi six laps from the end, but remained unable to catch the bike of Rossi.

Nevertheless, the plaudits belonged to Rossi, who finished the race in 44 minutes 57.142 seconds, with Biaggi 2.579 and Capirossi 3.216 seconds behind. Gibernau finished fifth after being taken by Nakano on the last lap and Abe eventually ended up 6th.

Click here to see highlights of the 500cc race

Click here to hear the interviews

500cc, 2001

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