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Rossi facing four-stroke onslaught as battle for final positions intensifies

Rossi facing four-stroke onslaught as battle for final positions intensifies

Rossi facing four-stroke onslaught as battle for final positions intensifies

Valentino Rossi clinched the MotoGP championship with his tenth victory of the season at the last round in Brazil but the battle behind him for final championship standings intensifies as the championship enters the final four rounns at Motegi this weekend.. The Italian´s great rival Max Biaggi moved into second place after finishing second in Rio, riding the M1 Yamaha, whilst his factory Honda team-mate Tohru Ukawa crashed and slipped to third place, just eight points behind Biaggi.

Behind them, Barros moved into fourth place in Rio just two points in front of the second Yamaha M1 of Spaniard Checa and makes his debut this weekend on the Honda RC211V. Only seven points behind Checa is the unsung hero of the season, Japanese rider Norick Abe. Riding the Yamaha D´Antin machine, Abe has only failed to score in one race and has shown great spirit at every meet.

Former World Champion Kenny Roberts, who won the Motegi race two years ago, produced his best result of the season in Brazil where he finished third on the Suzuki GSV-R. Since his operation to prevent arm-pumping, Roberts is returning to top form and with the four-stroke Suzuki improving every race, both the American and his Spanish team-mate Sete Gibernau are looking for more podium finishes in the remaining four races.

250cc World Champion Daijiro Kato was brought down in the quarter-litre race last year but won in 2000 and will be praying for dry conditions on Sunday after crashing out of the last two races in the wet. Olivier Jacque and Shinya Nakano make their final appearances of the season on the YZR500 Yamaha, as they look ahead to the following week in Malaysia when they will ride M1 Yamahas in the Gauloises Tech 3 colours.

A trio of new four-strokes will take their bow in Japan, with RC211V debutante Barros joined by wildcards Akira Yanagawa on the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR and Wataru Yoshikawa on the Yamaha M1.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2002, Valentino Rossi

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