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Rossi easily controls ninth and final win of the season

Rossi easily controls ninth and final win of the season

Rossi easily controls ninth and final win of the season

The 2003 MotoGP World Champion won his ninth race of the year and gained a record 22 consecutive podium finishes this afternoon when he easily controlled the sixteenth and final Grand Prix of the season in Valencia.

A four rider break away consisting of the top riders in the World Championship standings, Rossi, Sete Gibernau, Loris Capirossi and Max Biaggi, formed the leading group as Nicky Hayden crashed out of fourth in the first few laps (the young American would restart and finish 16th and go on the pick up the Rookie of the year award).

The two main protagonists of the 2003 campaign, Rossi and Gibernau, stretched out an advantage as they formation flew around the 121,000 spectator-laden circuit, with Gibernau keen to pull off a home victory and Rossi clearly setting the pace it seemed like another last lap thriller akin to Germany and France would be on the cards.

However after a cheeky long look behind to see where everybody was stationed, Rossi decided to turn his lead into a display of dictating the pace of a GP from the front and inched out his margin lap by lap over Gibernau who was powerless to retaliate. The 24 year old broke his duck at a circuit where he has never previously won.

Capirossi grabbed his sixth podium of the year in his 200th GP start unhindered as Biaggi was also left lonely in fourth. Carlos Checa was the first Yamaha rider past the chequered flag in fifth leading 2002 winner Alex Barros. Troy Bayliss was sixth beating fellow MotoGP debutant Colin Edwards and completing another double top six finish for the Ducati factory, who must be immensely satisfied with their first campaign in the premier class. Norick Abe, standing in for the injured for Marco Melandri, and Makoto Tamada rounded off the top ten.

Rossi is a deserving Champion while Gibernau will have the number two plate next year. Biaggi was third in front of Capirossi and then Nicky Hayden.

MotoGP, 2003, Gran Premio Marlboro de la Comunitat Valenciana

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