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Honda showing the way but Ducati not far behind

Honda showing the way but Ducati not far behind

Honda showing the way but Ducati not far behind

Valentino Rossi may have turned in the most masterful performances of the season so far with his victories in Suzuka and Jerez but the new Ducati team has deservingly taken many plaudits for an astounding start to their debut MotoGP campaign. After three successive podiums Rossi is nestled in a familiar position at the top of the riders´ standings with a gap of 14 points over rival Max Biaggi (who has also taken three trophies but has yet to stand on the top step). However a glance down the page reveals a slightly more interesting ranking.

Honda naturally lead the way in the Constructors and Team tables, but the dominance they have enjoyed on the track so far is not wholly reflected in their points advantage. In what is no doubt splendid reading for the Italian bosses at the Bologna HQ, Ducati preserve second position in the constructor league only 30 points behind the Japanese giant. A gap of 15 points separates the newcomers from a so far disappointing Yamaha effort (best finish two fifth positions by Alex Barros from a five rider entry every GP) in third.

Aprilia, last season's wooden spoon winners (excluding the brief appearance by Kawasaki), have made a push into fourth tied with Suzuki, who were World Championship winners only 2 years go.

Kawasaki´s rock bottom status makes for miserable reading. The Green team have fielded eight race entries in the last three GPs and took their first one and only point yesterday in Jerez with Andrew Pitt´s 15th place.

Regarding the Team competition, Repsol Honda lead the way by 9 points from Biaggi and Ukawa´s Camel Pramac outfit. Ducati´s red shadow still looms large (thanks to Capirossi and Bayliss taking a podium a piece so far) and they trail Rossi and Hayden´s camp by 32.

MotoGP, 2003, Gran Premio Marlboro de España

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