Rossi wins in front of countrymen
Italian Valentino Rossi took his sixth consecutive home victory at the Gran Premio d’Italia Alice, sending a message out to the rest of the MotoGP field that they should doubt ‘The Doctor’ at their own peril. After a poor start, the five-time MotoGP World Champion moved up into first position on lap eight and never looked back, to take the win and cut the gap between himself and championship leader Casey Stoner to just nine points.
One rider who took off well from the line was Dani Pedrosa, who led the race early on and looked as if he was set to spoil the party atmosphere with three Spanish victories in the day’s trio of races. Although he threatened Rossi at the midway point of the race, a series of quick laps from the former champion –coupled with Pedrosa’s running slightly wide when attempting to overtake, left him unable to challenge for the lead in the final stages.
Returning to the MotoGP podium for the first time since the 2005 British Grand Prix, Alex Barros rounded off the rostrum positions with a tremendous ride. The Brazilian had the fastest top speed of any rider onboard his satellite Desmosedici GP7, and finally moved up to third ahead of factory rider Casey Stoner on lap 20. Holding on as the young pretender attempted his comeback, Barros gave the Pramac d’Antin Ducati team their first top three finish of the 800cc era and denied the factory team of a home podium.
Stoner holds onto his championship lead after finishing fourth, with Toni Elias nicking fifth from John Hopkins in the final moments. Outside the top six, Loris Capirossi had a disappointing closing third after having led the race early on. He had beaten Stoner in the first Ducati factory head-to-head on the Mugello straight, but slipped down the order after relinquishing his grip on the top spot.
Chris Vermeulen, Marco Melandri and MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden completed the top 10.
The three podium finishers at Mugello reflect on an excellent MotoGP race:
Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha (winner 42’42.385) “It’s impossible to explain I think. It was a difficult race because I made a small mistake at the start. I had a problem to find my rhythm in the first few laps. But I have to say thank you to everybody. To Michelin, because today the tires worked very well, to Yamaha and especially all the guys who work with me from Japan and to all my team.”
Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda (2nd, 42’45.459) “Well it was important I think that we had a good weekend but we must still improve in the second part of the race, as in previous races we still have some weak points there, but I hope to do even better in Barcelona.”
Alex Barros Pramac d’Antin (3rd, 42’48.341) “I’m really, really happy to be back on the MotoGP podium, I know this result has come at the best time, in the home race for Pramac d’Antin and Ducati. I need to say thank you to all the team for helping me a lot. I’ve had good results in practice during the last three races and have been unlucky so I hope now that my bad luck has stopped.”
Pos Rider Bike Time
1. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 42:42.385
2. Daniel Pedrosa Honda + 3.074
3. Alex Barros Ducati + 5.956
4. Casey Stoner Ducati + 6.012
5. John Hopkins Suzuki + 13.244
6. Toni Elias Honda + 19.255
7. Loris Capirossi Ducati + 19.646
8. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki + 22.810
9. Marco Melandri Honda + 22.837
10. Nicky Hayden Honda + 24.413
11. Alex Hofmann Ducati + 24.781
12. Colin Edwards Yamaha + 28.001
13. Shinya Nakano Honda + 36.733
14. Sylvain Guintoli Yamaha + 45.098
15. Makoto Tamada Yamaha + 45.145
16. Olivier Jacque Kawasaki + 45.217
17. Kenny Roberts Jr KR +1:27.222
Carlos Checa Honda 9
Kurtis Roberts KR 3
Randy de Puniet Kawasaki 1