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Rossi takes victory as Biaggi bombs out at Brno, whilst Harada wins emphatically and Elias squeezes through
Valentino Rossi was gifted victory and a 29 point World Championship lead in today´s Gauloises Czech Republic Grand Prix as Max Biaggi crashed out when leading on the thirteenth lap. The race set off at a blistering pace, with Kenny Roberts taking an early lead before giving way to Biaggi, who broke the circuit lap record twice in an attempt to make a break from the pack. Rossi stayed in touch, setting the lap record himself as he passed Roberts and began to chip away at his fellow Italian´s lead. The pair were out of sight from the rest of the field when Biaggi, pushing hard under pressure from Rossi, lost the front end of his Yamaha and slid into the gravel. Rossi held his concentration to record his fifth victory of the season, Biaggi rejoining the race to finish tenth.
´I am very pleased with this win and I feel justice has been done because if I didn´t crash out on the last lap at Mugello I would have held this lead in the Championship already,´ said Rossi. ´This is a very important victory but there are still six races to go and the most important thing now is that I keep my concentration until the end of the season.´
Alex Criville and Loris Capirossi overcame the Yamaha of Norick Abe to make it an all-Honda podium in second and third place respectively after the Suzuki of Roberts slipped drastically back down the field before retiring seven laps from the end. Vd Goorbergh suffered a similar fate on the Proton KR3 having made a good start from the front row. McCoy continued his recovery from injury to take sixth place behind Ukawa, followed by Checa, Gibernau and Barros. Haslam was the only other rider to fall and Stigefelt picked up a first point of the season for the Sabre Sport team.
Tetsuya Harada won his second race of the season to close the gap on Daijiro Katoh to 32 points in the 250cc World Championship standings, as Marco Melandri sealed an Aprilia one-two which edged the Honda rider out to third. Harada lost the holeshot to Katoh from pole position but was back in front on the second lap and never looked back, stretching out a comfortable three second lead. McWilliams crashed out on the same lap, leaving Katoh and Melandri to scrap it out all the way to the line, with the Italian youngster squeezing ahead on the last lap and holding on by 0.054 seconds.
Some way behind the battle for fourth place slowly came to life as Fonsi Nieto was pulled back by the chasing pack. Nieto held firm to secure his best ever result, as Rolfo took fifth ahead of De Puniet and Alzamora.
Toni Elias took no prisoners in the 125 race as he charged his way to victory and a 22 point Championship lead as title rival Poggiali crashed out after 12 laps. Spanish sensation Elias led during the opening exchanges but was dragged back into a race long skirmish with Cecchinello, Sanna, Ui and Jenkner, any one of whom could have taken victory as Sanna led into the final lap. Despite knowing a top five finish would guarantee him the Championship lead, Elias stormed past Cecchinello and Jenkner to take second, before passing Sanna with a typically courageous manoeuvre. Sanna´s desperate attempts to react ended in disaster as he crashed out to hand podium positions to Cecchinello in second and Jenkner, third.
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