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Phillip Island 2005: Rossi took eleventh win

Phillip Island 2005: Rossi took eleventh win

Phillip Island 2005: Rossi took eleventh win

Valentino Rossi took his eleventh victory of the season in a thrilling race at the Polini Australian Grand Prix on Sunday twelve months ago to extend his unbeaten record at Phillip Island to five years. Rossi was pushed all the way by a determined performance from Nicky Hayden, who led for the opening two laps after starting from pole position before Rossi took control.

The Italian's initial lead lasted until the halfway stage when, after several attempts to break Hayden's resistance, he allowed the American a brief spell at the front. However, with eight laps remaining Rossi regained control and opened up a one-second advantage that he maintained until the end of the race, clinching the constructors' World Championship for Yamaha to add to the teams and riders' titles.

Hayden's plight to stay in touch with Rossi was hindered by a spirited performance from Honda colleague Marco Melandri, who came through from eighth on the grid to challenge for second place at the midway stage of the race. By the time Hayden had shaken off the Italian's attentions it was too late for him to catch Rossi, despite clocking virtually identical times to the race leader over the closing laps.

A late charge from Carlos Checa saw Ducati celebrating at the end of a difficult weekend, the Spaniard riding alone in the absence of his injured team-mate Loris Capirossi and coming through to snatch the final podium position from Melandri with a draft pass at the finish line.

Whilst Sete Gibernau relegated Colin Edwards to sixth place with an aggressive pass just four laps from the end, the American also moved ahead of Capirossi and Biaggi in the championship and became fourth, just eight points behind Hayden and Melandri. Alex Barros was out of the chase for the runner-up spot after crashing heavily with five laps remaining of last year's race and dropping to eighth in the championship. However, his temporary team-mate Chris Vermeulen was pleased with his performance after taking eleventh place on his MotoGP debut following a close battle for tenth with John Hopkins.

MotoGP, 2006, GMC AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Valentino Rossi

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