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Last year at Donington

Last year at Donington

Last year at Donington

Donington Park was emerged in controversy after last year's MotoGP race, when Valentino Rossi was stripped of victory after being docked ten seconds for overtaking under a yellow flag. The MotoGP World Champion had celebrated with his adoring British fans on the podium but maximum points were later handed to his great rival Max Biaggi, with Sete Gibernau moving up to second place and Rossi relegated to third.

Previous to the post-race drama a sell-out crowd of 72,000 fans had enjoyed an exhibition of top class MotoGP action, with Biaggi streaking ahead on the opening laps as Gibernau, Marco Melandri and Loris Capirossi gave chase.

Rossi got a bad start and was down in seventh on the first lap, but he fought back to second two laps later and began exerting pressure on Biaggi. Gibernau did his best to stay with the two Italians and the field was inadvertently split on the sixth lap when Melandri dropped his Yamaha in the chicane, forcing a group of riders behind him to run wide as the three Hondas broke clear.

However, Gibernau could not maintain the electric pace of the front two and when Biaggi finally cracked, running straight across the gravel at the chicane, Rossi was on hand to capitalise, storming past his great rival and opening up an instant two second gap he would maintain until the finish line. Gibernau lapped alone into the final podium position, with the eight second gap to Rossi serving to edge him ahead of the Italian in the revised standings.

Capirossi rode a lonely race in fourth place but his Ducati team-mate Troy Bayliss was forced to work hard for fifth, charging through the field after losing several places in the combative opening laps. Carlos Checa held off a late surge from Nori Haga to seal sixth place, whilst Nicky Hayden beat fellow American Colin Edwards to eighth. Edwards was also caught on the final lap by Shinya Nakano, who pipped the then World Superbike Champion for ninth.


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