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2005: Rossi adds Qatar feather to his cap

2005: Rossi adds Qatar feather to his cap

2005: Rossi adds Qatar feather to his cap

Valentino Rossi added the Losail International Circuit to his long list of Grand Prix conquests last year, as he banished the memory of his crash the previous season with his tenth victory of the year in the Marlboro Grand Prix of Qatar. Rossi passed Marco Melandri with three laps remaining, just two laps after Sete Gibernau had buckled under pressure from his Honda team-mate and run straight into the gravel. The Italian pair rubbed elbows in an intense battle over the last fifteen kilometres of the race, with Melandri making a desperate surge just three corners from the end but running out of track on the exit of the turn and conceding victory to his compatriot.

Nicky Hayden was the only other rider capable of following the intense pace at the front, the American youngster setting a new lap record of 1'57.903, faster than his time in qualifying, to seal the final podium position in third place. Colin Edwards was unable to repeat his podium finish from last season, bringing his YZR-M1 home in a distant fourth place but adding valuable points to Rossi's tally and securing the Teams' World Championship for Gauloises Yamaha.

Gibernau returned to the track to pick up his first points in over two months as he crossed the line in fifth place, with Carlos Checa taking sixth on a relatively disappointing day for Ducati. After taking his third consecutive pole position yesterday, Checa's team-mate Loris Capirossi was unable to follow up with a third straight win as he struggled to tenth place, despite leading in the early stages. Capirossi's problems, combined with a mechanical breakdown for Max Biaggi and those podium finishes for Melandri and Hayden, meant that just eleven points separated five riders in the chase for the runner-up spot with three rounds remaining.


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