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Rossi takes Catalunya victory; First corner incident forces restart

Rossi takes Catalunya victory; First corner incident forces restart

Rossi takes Catalunya victory; First corner incident forces restart

Valentino Rossi was victorious in Catalunya to further cut the lead in the Championship, although the race will perhaps be better remembered for a first corner crash which left a number of riders out of the restart.

Contact between Ducati team-mates Sete Gibernau and Loris Capirossi caused both riders to hit the deck, taking with them Marco Melandri, John Hopkins and Randy de Puniet all fell, with the former's condition causing particular concern to onlookers. Melandri, Gibernau and Capirossi were all taken to hospital in Barcelona, where they will undergo tests.

Rossi started slowly from the blocks on the restart, dropping down to sixth before making his way back up through the field. Once the Doctor took the lead he set about putting some distance between him and the chasing pack, eventually finishing four and a half seconds ahead of second place man Nicky Hayden. Rossi's eighth career victory at the Circuit de Catalunya brings him within 29 points of the American at the top of the classification.

Nicky Hayden continued his impressive record of podium finishes, following on from his third place in Mugello to take second at the Circuit de Catalunya. The Repsol Honda rider was out on his own for the last portion of the race, not quite close enough to challenge Rossi for the win but under no real pressure from the riders behind him.

Kenny Roberts, starting from the front row for the first time since the 2004 German Grand Prix, ended a six year wait for a rostrum finish to complete a fantastic weekend for the American and Team Roberts.

John Hopkins, involved in the first corner incident, was just edged out by countryman Roberts on the final laps, and had to settle for fourth. In a successful day for American riders, Camel Yamaha's Colin Edwards took fifth place.

The Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya was the most successful race of the season for Rizla Suzuki, with Chris Vermeulen joining team-mate Hopkins in the top six. The Australian rookie had delayed the second restart after signalling that his bike had stalled on the approach to the grid, and resisted the urge to push beyond mechanical capabilities and risk missing out on valuable points once the race finally got underway.

Makoto Tamada came in seventh, with Carlos Checa, James Ellison, Alex Hofmann and Jose Luis Cardoso completing the top ten.

There was disappointment for home rider Dani Pedrosa, who had to retire after making contact with Kenny Roberts Jr. The Spaniard was joined on the sidelines by Casey Stoner, who slid off the track after having led from the restart. Shinya Nakano was shown the black flag on a frustrating day for Kawasaki Racing, the team having already seen their French rider Randy de Puniet crash out.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2006, GRAN PREMI CINZANO DE CATALUNYA, RAC

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