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Nastro Azzuro Honda

Nastro Azzuro Honda

Valentino Rossi:

´ Even though the World Championship was already won to win is always great. After all it was a 500cc class grand prix, not a ´Palio della Rana´ (a competition for frogs) in a small village.

I did not get a bad start but changing up from first to second gear I selected neutral so at the first corner there were many riders in front of me. The first lap was very difficult with so many aggressive riders around me but luckily when I passed the pits for the first time I was in fourth place, the situation almost under control.

I saw that McCoy and Capirossi were trying to force the pace and decided to stay very close to them. But McCoy´s riding style is so different from mine and it was difficult for me to hold my concentration having him in front of me sliding at every corner. So, at about midway through the race I decided to try and pass him.

Once I did I immediately put together some laps in 2m 06s and made a gap that enabled me to finish the race in a relatively comfortable situation, despite the high temperature that left me feeling very tired after I had taken the chequered flag.

As I said on Friday, the problem was to hold my concentration after having celebrated the World Championship win in Australia. I was able to do so and now we have just one race to go, at Rio in two weeks time. Like Sepang it´s a track I like very much and I would like to end the season in the best possible way.´

500cc, 2001

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