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Barros ends the season with a bang

Barros ends the season with a bang

Barros ends the season with a bang

Alex Barros had the final word in the 2002 MotoGP World Championship as he took victory in the Gran Premio Marlboro de la Comunitat Valenciana at the Ricardo Tormo circuit this afternoon. The Brazilian took his second win and fourth podium from just four races aboard the Honda RC211V machine, leading World Champion Valentino Rossi across the line by 0.230 seconds after an intense 30 lap race. The Honda pair led the way after just two laps and established a clear advantage over a chasing group headed by Max Biaggi, with Barros setting a blistering pace on his way to a new circuit record of 1'33.873. Rossi had only managed 1'33.855 in qualifying and it was a credit to the Italian that he stayed in contention at the only circuit on the MotoGP calendar that he has failed to register a win in any category. Barros came under extreme pressure from Rossi on the last lap, running wide onto the grass but holding the lead with a heart-stopping late braking manoeuvre to maintain his advantage into the final few corners.

Max Biaggi put in another excellent performance in his last appearance on the Yamaha M1 to take a clear third place from Japanese Honda pair Daijiro Kato and Tohru Ukawa, whilst Shinya Nakano followed his compatriots home to seal his target of a top six place. Jurgen vd Goorbergh overcame Jeremy McWilliams to finish as the highest placed two-stroke for the second race in succession in seventh, after front row starter Garry McCoy was penalised for a jump start and later crashed out and Loris Capirossi also ended his 500 career in the gravel trap.

Yamaha M1 riders Olivier Jacque and Norick Abe completed the top ten ahead of John Hopkins, who signed off from his rookie season with eleventh place. Andrew Pitt picked up the first points for Kawasaki since their return to Grand Prix racing as he crossed the line in twelfth. Sete Gibernau and Tetsuya Harada were the only other riders to finish the race, with Harada making his final appearance before his imminent retirement. The race had got off to a dramatic start as Carlos Checa stalled on the line and was clattered from behind by Jose Luis Cardoso. Both Spaniards were thrown spectacularly into the air but escaped injury and a red flag was avoided as the track was cleared before the field emerged to complete their first lap.

MotoGP, 2002, Gran Premio Marlboro de la Comunitat Valenciana

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