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Rossi still in his pomp with dominant performance at Suzuka

Rossi still in his pomp with dominant performance at Suzuka

Rossi still in his pomp with dominant performance at Suzuka

Double MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi easily triumphed at the opening round of the 2003 World Championships in the Skyy Vodka Grand Prix of Japan. The Repsol Honda man headed an all-Italian top three of Max Baiggi and Loris Capirossi.

The race started with the Italian trio circling the Suzuka curves close together with Capirossi putting the Ducati at the front of the pack in it's debut GP. Rossi in second always seemed quite content and smooth compared to the line bashing style of his countryman in front. The pass was inevitable; then Biaggi followed and could not match the speed of his long time arch-rival. Capirossi misjudged the chicane and dropped back off in third while Rossi was left alone. Biaggi looked to be facing a threat from the Ducati towards the end of the GP but held on for a well-earned runner-up position while Capirossi placed the red of the Italian manufacturer on the podium at their first ever MotoGP.

Sete Gibernau completed a very solid if lonely ride in fourth. His team-mate Daijiro Kato had a very serious looking crash and was flown to hospital with head and chest concussion. Other crashees were Matsudo Tamada, Tohru Ukawa and Nori Haga (who remounted for 12th. Troy Bayliss ended an awesome weekend for Ducati with fifth position.

Rossi´s new team-mate 21 year old Nicky Hayden finished in an excellent seventh in his first GP just behind another debutant Colin Edwards on the Aprilia in sixth. Top Yamaha rider in eighth was Alex Barros who crashed in warm-up and injured his knee. The two Suzukis of John Hopkins and Kenny Roberts claimed 14th and 15th respectively.
Rossi´s third consecutive victory at Suzuka was marked by having to get a lift back to the pits on the back of Haga´s Aprilia!.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2003, SKYY VODKA Grand Prix of Japan

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