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Golden MotoGP season reaches halfway point at Cinzano British Grand Prix

Golden MotoGP season reaches halfway point at Cinzano British Grand Prix

Golden MotoGP season reaches halfway point at Cinzano British Grand Prix

One of the most exciting seasons in recent years reaches its halfway point this weekend at the Cinzano British Grand Prix, round eight of sixteen in the 2003 MotoGP World Championship. World Champion Valentino Rossi leads the current standings by 38 points but is equal on number of wins with Sete Gibernau, after the Spaniard took his third triumph of the season at Assen last week. Gibernau makes his 100th premier-class start at Donington Park and would like nothing more than another victory to close the points gap on his factory Honda colleague.

However, potential winners lurk in almost every garage at Donington, with Loris Capirossi boasting four wins and six poles at this circuit in the 125cc and 250cc classes, Max Biaggi having two 250cc wins here as well as premier-class poles and podiums, Alex Barros having two podiums from the last two seasons and improving Aprilia pair Colin Edwards and Noriyuki Haga both having won here in the World Superbike series.

Former British Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss will be looking to make up for a disappointing run of results on the Ducati at a track he probably knows better than any other whilst Yamaha rider Marco Melandri, who lives just down the road from the circuit in Derby, won the 250cc race here last year and will look to put on a good performance for his adopted home crowd. Melandri´s team-mate Carlos Checa also lives in England and will be desperate to banish the painful memory of last year, when he crashed out of a clear lead after 18 laps.

Rossi, though, has won on each of the five occasions he has finished at Donington, including his maiden premier-class win in 2000, and treats this race as his second 'home' Grand Prix. The Italian lives in London and made a special appearance in his hometown on Tuesday to meet the fans and press who have adopted him as one of their own. The event kicked off a great week for British bike fans, who will also get to meet the rest of their heroes at the circuit on Thursday, when MotoGP charity Riders for Health open the paddock for their annual Day of Champions.

Kenny Roberts fans will, however, be disappointed as the former 500cc World Champion is set to miss his third straight race after failing to recover from chest injuries sustained in a crash at Mugello one month ago. Roberts will again be replaced on the Suzuki GSV-R by Japanese factory rider Yukio Kagayama, who has his own army of British supporters after taking his first wins in the British Superbike series riding a GSX-R1000 at Rockingham on Sunday.

MotoGP, 2003, Cinzano British Grand Prix

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