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MotoGPApril 21, Race Results
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 2
South Africa GP, Welkom

Ukawa Wins Honda RC211V Duel in South Africa to End Rossi's Winning Streak


Tohru Ukawa won his fist ever 'Blue Riband' race in a sensational last lap of the South African Grand Prix at Welkom today. Ukawa and his REPSOL Honda teammate, reigning 500cc World Champion Valentino Rossi, had raced their RC211V 990cc four-strokes nose to tail throughout the 28 lap MotoGP race, Rossi leading for the opening 19 laps before Ukawa took over to ride an intelligent front running race, conserving his tyres.

Rossi trailed his teammate until lap 26, then made his move re-passing Ukawa under braking, but he could not shake off his teammate who put him under severe pressure at the start of the last lap. Half way round the circuit Rossi ran wide and Ukawa immediately passed him. Rossi was not finished. He recovered and mounted another attack on Ukawa as they approached the last corner. He almost got alongside Ukawa, and appeared to have the race line, but he was too fast into the corner and again ran wide leaving Ukawa a clear run to the flag to win by 0.9 seconds.

Loris Capirossi made it an all Honda podium. The West Honda Pons NSR500 two-stroke rider finished third, eight seconds behind Rossi. Daijiro Katoh (Team Fortuna Honda Gresini), on another NSR500, charged through the field from 14th on the start grid to outfight Carlos Checa on the last lap and claim fourth place.

Italian Marco Melandri raced to a start to finish victory in the 250cc race. The MS Aprilia team rider was quickest off the line and made the best of a clear road to race away from his rivals to score an easy win. The real interest in the race was the battle for the minor places in the 26-lap race, and it produced plenty of fireworks to keep the crowd of 40,000 on their feet.

Five riders were to feature in the battle with Franco Battaini (Imola Circuit Aprilia), Roberto Locatelli (Tu Racing Aprilia), Randy de Puniet (Campetella Aprilia), Roberto Rolfo, on the Team Fortuna Honda Gresini NSR250, and Fonsi Nieto (Telefonica MoviStar Repsol Aprilia) all involved. A mixture of tough riding, including two collisions between Battaini and Locatelli, tyre wear and pure aggression produced a superb finale. Battaini, having disposed of Locatelli, claimed second in the race and the lead in the championship.

Locatelli made a mistake two laps from home which let the fast finishing Nieto take third place. Rolfo also took advantage of the situation to claim fourth at the flag. Locatelli was fifth with De Puniet sixth.

Reigning World Champion Manuel Poggiali (Gilera) emerged victorious from a superb seven-man battle in the 125cc event. In a race which saw six men hold the lead at various points in the 24-lap race, Poggiali held off determined late challenges from Japanese GP winner Arnaud Vincent (Imola Circuit Aprilia) and Pablo Nieto (Master Aprilia). Vincent almost made his last lap charge stick but failed by just 0.27 seconds. Nieto was the man to loose out while attacking Vincent's second place. The Spaniard made a bad mistake and ran wide, allowing both Dani Pedrosa (Telefonica Movistar Junior Team) and Steve Jenkner (UGT 3000 Aprilia) past.


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 2
South Africa GP, Welkom


line
MotoGP
1 T.Ukawa (Repsol Honda)
2 V.Rossi (Repsol Honda)
3 L.Capirossi (West Honda Pons)
4 D. Kato (Team Fortuna Honda Gresini)
5 C.Checa (Marlboro Yamaha Team)
6 O.Jacque (Gauloises Yamaha Tech 3)
7 N.Abe (Antena 3 Yamaha d'Antin)
8 S.Nakano (Gauloises Yamaha Tech 3)
9 M.Biaggi (Marlboro Yamaha Team)
10 G.Mccoy (Red Bull Yamaha WCM)
11 J.v.Goorbergh (Kanemoto Racing)
12 T.Harada (Pramac Racing)
13 P.Riba (Antena 3 Yamaha d'Antin)
14 J.Hopkins (Red Bull Yamaha WCM)
15 R.Laconi (MS Aprilia Racing)
T.UKAWA<BR>Honda RC211V
T.UKAWA
Honda RC211V

T.UKAWA, V.ROSSI
T.UKAWA, V.ROSSI
250cc
1 M.Melandri (MS Aprilia Racing)
2 F.Battaini (Imola Circuit Exalt Cycle Race)
3 F.Nieto (Telefonica Movistar-Repsol)
4 R.Rolfo (Team Fortuna Honda Gresini)
5 R.Locatelli (Tu Racing Team)
6 R.D.Puniet (Campetella Racing)
7 .Alzamora (Team Fortuna Honda Gresini)
8 S.Porto (Petronas Sprinta Yamaha TVK)
9 A.Debon (Campetella Racing)
10 D.Checa (Safilo Oxydo Race LCR)
11 N.Matsudo (Dark Dog Yamaha Kurz)
12 J.Vincent (Cibertel Honda BQR)
13 H.Aoki (DeGraaf Grand Prix Team)
14 D.Heidolf (Aprilia Germany)
15 L.Haslam (Cibertel Honda BQR)
125cc
1 M.Poggiali (Gilera Racing)
2 A.Vincent (Imola Circuit Exalt Cycle Race)
3 D.Pedrosa (Telefonica Movistar jnr Team)
4 S.Jenkner (UGT 3000-Abruzzo)
5 P.Nieto (Master-Aspar Team)
6 A.D.Angelis (Safilo Oxydo Race LCR)
7 G.Borsoi (UGT 3000-Abruzzo)
8 S.Sanna (Tu Racing Team)
9 M.Azuma (Tribe by Breil)
10 A.Dovizioso (Scot Racing Team)
11 N.Ueda (Semprucci Angaia Racing)
12 M.Kallio (Red Devil Honda)
13 M.Sabbatani (Bossini Sterilgarda Racing)
14 A.Ballerini (FCC-TSR)
15 M.Fabrizio (Team Italia)


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