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Nastro Azzuro Honda

Nastro Azzuro Honda

Valentino Rossi

´ I do believe the spectators enjoyed that race. This is a fantastic race track and the show is always great. I also enjoyed the race but what a hard job! It was a very hard race from the first lap to the last. I really wanted to win and I´m very happy that I did.

In practice we had various setting problems but in the warm up this morning we made more modifications and improved. Once more my team did a great job.This time I got a very good start but it was not enough to allow me to run away and immediately I had to start fighting with Nori Haga and Alex Barros.

In the opening laps I had one eye on the track and one on Nori and Alex. We were always very close to touching each other and finally Barros and I touched, at 300km/h. A really scary experience. After that I decided it would be safer to be in front. I tried to run away by putting together some fast laps but Biaggi responded with a new lap record and took the lead. I tried again but it was not possible to get away. So I decided to study where it would eventually be possible to pass him in the closing laps and win the race. I knew the World Championship was at stake but to win a race like this is really something. I passed Max (Biaggi) in corner No: 10, a slow first gear right hander at 75km/h. I think this was a fine and very emotional race but I still believe that my best race this year was at Donington Park (the British GP), even if I did win the title today.

First of all I wish to dedicate this victory to a team member, former Enduro rider Andrea Marinoni (who´s Mother passed away yesterday). Then to the very, very long list of friends who have helped me. I´m very happy my Mother Stefania came here to Phillip Island but finally she was so emotionally involved she preferred to watch the race on television, exactly as she would have done at home. My father Graziano did not come because he has a fear of flying but I´m sure that he was also emotionally involved watching at home.

Now I´m so taken by the emotions of this race that it´s difficult for me to think about the World Championship title. I think I need a few hours before I realise that I am the 500cc World Champion.´

500cc, 2001

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