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The Italian Job

The Italian Job

The Italian Job

Last year's Italian Grand Prix proved to be not only one of the most exciting races of the 2005 MotoGP season, but also a real demonstration by the ‘home' riders who filled the top four positions in the form of Valentino Rossi, Max Biaggi, Loris Capirossi and Marco Melandri. They ensured the partisan home crowd left very happy after staging a spectacular battle for the podium places that will live long in the memory.

With Sete Gibernau having crashed out and Carlos Checa and Nicky Hayden engaged in their own private dual for fifth, the four Italian idols were left to battle it out in front of their adoring fans.

The race saw the leading positions change hands on numerous occasions with Biaggi and Melandri applying the pressure on Rossi who had set the early pace. Melandri even managed to sneak past ‘The Doctor' and into the lead on lap ten, but the World Championship leader responded in typical style with a counter-attack to which only Biaggi was able to respond. Ultimately Rossi got the better of his great rival to take the chequered flag, but arguably a more exciting fight took place behind with Capirossi producing a storming finish to challenge Melandri for the final place on the podium. After a series of breathtaking exchanges it was the Ducati Marlboro man who emerged on top to clinch third place in dramatic style.

Over the past few seasons Mugello has become something of a fortress for the Italian MotoGP stars with home riders dominating the podium. Back in 2003 there was another all Italian top three, although the statistics show that the current pre-eminence enjoyed by Italians at their home circuit has not always been the case. In the 1980s it was the Americans who held the upper hand, while Australian Mick Doohan was virtually invincible for most of the 90s before arrival of Rossi and a host of other talented Italian stars.

MotoGP, 2005

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