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Rossi leads Italian top four at home Grand Prix

Rossi leads Italian top four at home Grand Prix

Rossi leads Italian top four at home Grand Prix

Valentino Rossi extended his lead at the top of the MotoGP World Championship standings to 49 points after a dramatic home victory ahead of a trio of compatriots at the Gran Premio Alice dItalia on Sunday. As Sete Gibernau sensationally crashed out of the race on the sixth lap to the delight of the 88367 crowd, Rossi came under intense pressure from Max Biaggi, Marco Melandri and Loris Capirossi. All three took turns leading the race before a typical late charge from Rossi that saw him take the flag by 0.359 seconds from Biaggi, with Capirossi holding off an attack from Melandri in the final corner to clinch Ducatis first podium of the season in third place.

That was an incredible race and the best possible finish for the crowd, with four Italian riders in the top four positions, said Rossi. It was a great battle full of passes and full of attacks. In the beginning I tried to go alone but I had some problems with the front tyre and decided just to concentrate on my rhythm. Then Melandri arrived and we had a great fight, also with Biaggi after that. We set a high pace to the finish, I made my attack with three laps to go and it worked so of course I am very happy.

Fourth place for Melandri maintains second place in the championship for the youngster whilst Biaggi now moves up to third ahead of Gibernau with twelve rounds still remaining the first of those coming in just a weeks time at the Spaniards home circuit of Catalunya. Carlos Checa completed an enjoyable home round for Ducati as he clinched fifth place after a race-long battle with Hondas Nicky Hayden, whilst Alex Barros fought his way from the 13th on the grid to take seventh at the flag.

Makoto Tamada returned from injury in style with an impressive eighth place ahead of Colin Edwards just seven weeks after breaking his wrist in Portugal, whilst Shinya Nakano banished the memories of his 300km/h crash here one year ago to clinch the final top ten position. Alex Hofmann also made an encouraging return from his wrist injury to take twelfth behind John Hopkins, with Troy Bayliss, Ruben Xaus and Kenny Roberts completing the points.


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