Rossi At The Double In Mugello Stunner
From Dorna Communications
Valentino Rossi took victory in the Gran Premio Cinzano d'Italia after a stunning double race caused by a brief rain shower which brought a sensational battle for victory to a standstill just six laps from the end. Rossi had taken the holeshot for his home race and was leading a group skirmish, which saw Makoto Tamada, Max Biaggi, Loris Capirossi, Sete Gibernau, Marco Melandri and Nicky Hayden interchange podium positions and the lead, when the heavens opened on the seventeenth lap.

Rossi raised his hand to the air and Race Direction beckoned the riders to the pit-lane to regroup, the majority opting to stay on slick tyres when the starting grid was reformed according to their race positions under a resurgent sunshine. However, light rain again began to fall causing treacherous conditions and an incredibly unpredictable race which saw Norick Abe, Troy Bayliss and Ruben Xaus take turns at the front before Rossi, Gibernau and Biaggi re-established the podium order with which they had ended the first part of the race.

"This is probably my best ever Grand Prix result and the best day of my life," said Rossi, who celebrated with a record 85,169 crowd as he moved ahead of Biaggi to take second in the championship, ten points behind Gibernau. "The crowd here was incredible - the only time I have ever seen anything like it was when Ferrari scored a 1-2 at Imola. In the second race the conditions were difficult but the track began to dry out over the last couple of laps and I was able to push hard and take the win... it's fantastic."

Bayliss hung on to seal Ducati's best result of the season at their home circuit in fourth place, whilst MotoGP rookie Xaus took his highest ever Grand Prix finish in fifth. Alex Barros, who was closing in on Biaggi for third in the first race, clinched a safe sixth ahead of Abe and Capirossi, whilst Shane Byrne, who diced with the leaders during the second race, took his first top ten finish in tenth.

Hayden did not make the reshuffled grid after crashing out of the first part of the race, nor did Shinya Nakano and Carlos Checa, who also crashed, whilst Kenny Roberts, Kurtis Roberts and Makoto Tamada all retired.

Sebastián Porto took his first win of the season and the second of his career in the 250cc race after dominating the Grand Prix with pole position and the fastest lap of the race. Porto got a great start, leading De Puniet and Pedrosa in a break from the chasing field over the opening laps, the trio interchanging places throughout the race until the Argentinean and the Frenchman stepped up the pace three laps from the end. De Puniet looked primed for a last lap attack for victory but ran out of fuel in the final bend, coasting over the line in fourth place as Pedrosa and Poggiali took the final two podium positions.

Roberto Locatelli took an emotional home victory in the 125cc race, standing atop of the podium for the first time since his championship winning performance at Motegi in 2000. Locatelli emerged victorious from a stunning six-rider battle, series leader Andrea Dovizioso running wide in the final corner to allow his compatriot through for the win as Casey Stoner and Hector Barbera also took advantage to snatch the final two podium positions.




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Rossi At The Double In Mugello Stunner () 06/07 08:23 AM

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07/06/04

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