Rossi goes flag-to-flag at Jerez
Valentino Rossi bowled all challengers to take victory at the Gran Premio bwin.com de España and put himself at the head of the overall classification. The five time MotoGP World Champion was never troubled after passing poleman Dani Pedrosa midway through the opening lap, and ended his five race longest ever winless streak with a masterful display of how to lead a Grand Prix.
‘The Doctor’ has won at Jerez on four previous occasions, and marked victory number five with a special celebration alongside his fan club. Decked out in skittle costumes, the group fell at the Italian’s feet as he gave them an underarm bowl on his parade lap.
Hyped up as a battle between Rossi and Pedrosa for dominance of the Spanish circuit, the race never really became a duel between the two riders. As the Fiat Yamaha rider continually upped his race pace, Pedrosa was left with little to do but follow his rival into second. Whilst clearly unable to keep up with Rossi, he was likewise unfazed by the presence of third placed Colin Edwards nearly three seconds behind him. For the ‘Texan Tornado’ the Gran Premio bwin.com de España marked a welcome return to the podium after an assured ride.
Aiming to give the Spanish fans another reason to be happy, Toni Elias was right up there with Rossi’s fastest speeds although starting from further down the grid. The exciting rider finished in fourth after some excellent overtaking, just edging out Casey Stoner who couldn’t repeat his dominance from two weeks ago. The Australian Ducati rider himself was once again mature in his overtaking choices, and was rewarded with some valuable points for the World Championship.
Carlos Checa, starting from the front row for the first time since the 2005 Portuguese Grand Prix, rounded off the top six, ahead of reigning World Champion Nicky Hayden. ‘The Kentucky Kid’ made a fantastic start, but was unable to get near the leaders and dropped off towards the end of the race. Marco Melandri, Chris Vermeulen and Shinya Nakano completed the top ten. John Hopkins suffered a crash on lap 16, having just overtaken Hayden, but picked the Suzuki GSV-R800 up to finish the race, albeit in 19th. The brave Anglo-American was once again racing despite pain in his right hand.
1 25 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team YAMAHA
2 20 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team HONDA +1.246
3 16 5 Colin EDWARDS USA Fiat Yamaha Team YAMAHA+2.701
4 13 24 Toni ELIAS SPA Honda Gresini HONDA + 4.351
5 11 27 Casey STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team DUCATI + 4.993
6 10 7 Carlos CHECA SPA Honda LCR HONDA + 10.000
7 9 1 Nicky HAYDEN USA Repsol Honda Team HONDA + 14.146
8 8 33 Marco MELANDRI ITA Honda Gresini HONDA + 19.969
9 7 71 Chris VERMEULEN AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP SUZUKI + 24.786
10 6 56 Shinya NAKANO JPN Konica Minolta Honda HONDA +24.955
11 5 4 Alex BARROS BRA Pramac d'Antin DUCATI + 25.008
12 4 65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Ducati Marlboro Team DUCATI + 25.852
13 3 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Kawasaki Racing Team KAWASAKI + 26.445
14 2 6 Makoto TAMADA JPN Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA + 36.653
15 1 50 Sylvain GUINTOLI FRA Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA + 36.744
16 10 Kenny ROBERTS JR USA Team Roberts KR212V + 48.911
17 64 Kousuke AKIYOSHI JPN Rizla Suzuki MotoGP SUZUKI + 50.784
18 19 Olivier JACQUE FRA Kawasaki Racing Team KAWASAKI + 1'00.901
19 21 John HOPKINS USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP SUZUKI + 1'03.371
66 Alex HOFMANN GER Pramac d'Antin DUCATI