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Honda Nastro Azzurro

Honda Nastro Azzurro

Valentino Rossi: ´I really wanted to end the season in the best possible way and I did. There has also been a final thrill because when I crossed the finishing line in the slipstream of Checa I absolutely didn´t know which of us had won the race on corrected time. Further more I didn’t see the chequered flag. When I saw Checa didn´t shut the throttle I also had a little doubt that the race was over. Luckily I met one guy of the team around the track who told me I had won by 0.143s.A race like this that is stopped because of rain is always problematical. In fact we didn´t choose the best tyre solution for the second leg. I chose an intermediate while Checa and Biaggi had put on cut slicks that were better because the track dried quickly.I knew I had a technical handicap and when Checa passed me in the middle of the race I suspected he would have been able to run away and win the race. But I tried to stay in his slipstream and it worked. It was not an easy job because with the front tyre getting worse and worse running into the corners was very tricky.Luckily I had a small advantage on the straights because of my engine. It was a very, very hard race but worth the effort. So I ended the championship with 11 wins and 325 points, better than I did when I won the 125 championship (11 wins - 321 points) and the 250 (9 wins - 309 points). The 500 class is the top category so I believe this has been the best year of my career.´

500cc, 2001

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