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Rossi back on top of the podium after best race of the year

Rossi back on top of the podium after best race of the year

Rossi back on top of the podium after best race of the year

There have been some very close finishes in the MotoGP championship this season, the races in France and Germany instantly spring to mind, but Valentino Rossi's fourth victory of the season not only saw him once again cross the finish line less than a second apart from Sete Gibernau but endure a fantastic spectacle of motorcycle racing that acted as a fine advertisement for the sport.

The main protagonists in a race that finished an excellent day's entertainment in Brno involved the Honda pair as well as the two Ducatis in the hands of Troy Bayliss and Loris Capirossi; the former made the best start of the line and led for the first third of the GP until all-out war began to kick off.

The quartet switched positions and lines with regularity; power-sliding their way around the circuit.

Capirossi had nudged his way to third before a mechanical problem on lap 13 led to his fourth DNF of the season. Bayliss was then alone in third and tantalisingly always a second to a second and half away from the Hondas.

It was not a faultless Rossi performance by any means. The World Champion seemed more tense than usual and made several errors that hardly helped his cause over the 22 laps. The power of the Rossi-Honda combination was highlighted to perfection, even as the Italian ran wide and dropped to fourth due to one of his mistakes anybody watching knew that he was far from out of the running.

Rossi and Gibernau traded errors inside the last two laps and Rossi made an aggressive move inside the last 3 or four corners that he held until the flag. Bayliss can take encouragement from his third podium of his debut MotoGP campaign and also by the fact that he was only just over half a second away from almost another Rossi-Gibernau dead heat at the flag.

Max Biaggi, who had previously won on seven occasions at Brno, had been a distant member of the group at the front but was never a serious threat and a mistake dropped him to fifth, which is where he finished behind top Yamaha rider Carlos Checa. Nicky Hayden produced a solid sixth and beat Alex Barros, Tohru Ukawa, Makoto Tamada and Marco Melandri.

Rossi's triumph is as preciously psychologically (he hadn't won in four races) as it is numerically. The five points he gained over Gibernau today could prove vital by the season's end in six GPs time. ‘The Doctor', who celebrated his success today by tying a ball and chain to his ankle on the slow-down lap and chipped away at a piece of rock with two ‘criminals', now leads the standings by 34 points, with Biaggi trailing Gibernau by 37 in third.


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