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Rossi hoping to celebrate century in style

Rossi hoping to celebrate century in style

Rossi hoping to celebrate century in style

World Champion Valentino Rossi could not have selected a better occasion than the Cinzano British Grand Prix at Donington Park to celebrate his 100th Grand Prix appearance. The 23-year-old Italian won his very first 500cc race at the 2.50 mile (4.023km) British circuit two years ago and took victory last year on his way to clinching his third World Championship crown. Rossi, who has won six out of the seven MotoGP World Championship races this year to lead the rider standings by a massive 68 points, has also secured 125 and 250 triumphs at the track that stages its 16th consecutive Grand Prix event.

Rossi will be a hard man to beat in the 30 lap MotoGP race on Sunday but he will not have an easy ride on the 990cc Repsol Honda with his team-mate Tohru Ukawa and the Marlboro Yamaha four-stroke M1 machines of Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi improving every race. Ukawa is the only rider to beat Rossi this season whilst Checa and Biaggi have taken five podium finishes between them. Brazilian veteran Alex Barros pushed Rossi to the limit on the 500cc two-stroke NSR West Honda Pons machine at the last round at Assen in Holland before having to settle for a brilliant second place. He is joined by a new teammate on Sunday with German Alex Hofmann replacing the injured Loris Capirossi.

Three English-based teams are looking forward to their home GP this weekend. Suzuki have a great record at Donington with Kevin Schwantz winning the 500cc race four times and they return this year with three riders: former World Champion Kenny Roberts, Spaniard Sete Gibernau and Japanese Superbike Champion Akira Ryo riding the GSV-R four-stroke machines. Two years ago the only British rider in the class, Jeremy McWilliams, delighted the home fans by finishing third in a superb 500cc race and he returns on the three-cylinder KR Proton machine together with teammate Nobuatsu Aoki. Australian Garry McCoy, who was replaced by Hofmann at the last two races on the Red Bull Yamaha, is set to return after missing the last four races with a leg injury.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2002, Cinzano British Grand Prix, Valentino Rossi

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