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Biaggi back in the title hunt after Sachsenring win

Biaggi back in the title hunt after Sachsenring win

Biaggi back in the title hunt after Sachsenring win

Max Biaggi lies just one point behind MotoGP World Championship leader Valentino Rossi after taking his first win of the season at the Veltins Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, with Rossi taking fourth place and Sete Gibernau crashing out for the second Grand Prix in succession.

In another sensational race, which marked the halfway point of the season, Alex Barros challenged Biaggi all the way to the line and clinched second place, with Nicky Hayden completing an all-Honda podium after passing Rossi in the closing stages and holding off a late attack from the World Champion. Gibernau´s crash sees him slip to third in the championship, twelve points adrift of Biaggi, and the Italian made no attempt to quell his delight.

´This is a fantastic result for me and really important for the championship´, said Biaggi, who had not won since October 2003 at Motegi. ´It was a tough race because there are no long straights here to relax on and 30 laps of constant corners is hard work. But we did a good job here and I have to say thanks to my team and to Michelin. Now we have to keep working like this for the rest of the season´.

Gibernau´s crash came on the ninth lap of a hectic opening half of the race, with compatriot Carlos Checa having slid out of third place in front of him just four laps previously. Loris Capirossi provisionally moved up into what seemed to be a jinxed final podium position before also crashing out, with Marco Melandri adding to the crash tally with a spectacular high speed fall which also took out his team-mate Norick Abe.

The chaos aided Hayden´s charge through the field, with the American youngster recovering from twelfth place on the first lap to move up to third by the tenth lap and then following Barros in the hunt for breakaway leaders Rossi and Biaggi. Rossi led for six laps but began to encounter tyre problems as he tried to escape in the second half of the race and was powerless to resist the attacks of Biaggi, Barros and Hayden.

Colin Edwards clinched fifth place in the decimated field to hang on to fifth in the championship despite the growing threat of Hayden, with Makoto Tamada recovering from a bad start to make it five Hondas in the top six. Shinya Nakano took his best finish of the season in seventh place, just ahead of Suzuki pair Kenny Roberts and John Hopkins, with Kawasaki team-mate Alex Hofmann completing the top ten to the delight of the capacity 93,408 home crowd.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2004, VELTINS MOTORRAD GP DEUTSCHLAND, RAC

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