|MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 10
CZECH REP GP, Brno
Kato Second in Four-Stroke Debut.
| Italian Max Biaggi
(Marlboro Yamaha) won his first grand prix of the season with victory in
the 22-lap Czech MotoGP race. Biaggi beat Japanese star Daijiro Kato to
the line by 2.7s. Reigning 250cc World Champion Kato could not have imagined
such a result on his race debut for Team Fortuna Honda Gresini on their
RC211V Honda four-stroke.
Kato's fellow countryman Tohru Ukawa (REPSOL Honda) rode a heroic race to
finish third, having survived a high speed crash in the morning pre-race
warm up session.
Sete Gibernau (Telefonica MoviStar Suzuki) scored his best result of the
season while finishing fourth. Loris Capirossi (West Honda Pons) finished
fifth on his return to racing following his two-race absence due to injury.
The diminutive Italian ended the race in great pain from his damaged wrist.
Championship leader and reigning 500cc World Champion Valentino Rossi was
on Biaggi's tail for 15 of the 22 laps, and beginning to threaten his rival
when his tyre delaminated forcing him into the pits to take new rubber.
He returned to the fray in 18th and last place. Rossi still holds a massive
80-point lead over Ukawa in the championship chase with six races remaining
in the series. Biaggi is third a further six points behind Rossi.
World Championship leader Marco Melandri (MS Aprilia) won his seventh 250cc
grand prix of the season to open a 37 point lead over Fonsi Nieto (Telefonica
MoviStar Repsol Aprilia). Melandri survived a memorable battle with Nieto
and Roberto Rolfo (Team Fortuna Honda Gresini) to win the 20-lap race. Sebastian
Porto (Petronas Sprinta Yamaha) finished a fine second ahead of Toni Elias
and his teammate Nieto.
Young Australian Casey Stoner (Safilo Oxydo Aprilia) finished fifth, his
best 250 result to date. Randy de Puniet was sixth ahead of Roberto Locatelli
(Tu Racing Aprilia) and Naoki Matsudo (Dark Dog Yamaha), who won a sprint
to the line with Haruchika Aoki (DeGraaf RS250R-W Honda). David Garcia,
deputising for the injured Emilio Alzamora at Team Fortuna Honda Gresini,
finished in a 10th place, a commendable first ever ride on an NSR250.
Lucio Cecchinello (Safilo Oxydo Aprilia) won a superb 125cc battle to take
his third grand prix of the season, outfighting Dani Pedrosa and Arnaud
Vincent over a 19-lap thriller. Young Spaniard Hector Barbera (Master Aprilia)
was fourth, beating reigning World Champion Manuel Poggiali (Gilera) to
The race had been a memorable affair in which no less than six riders led
at one point or another. Cecchinello now holds fourth place in the championship
but is well adrift of leader Poggiali who has 171 points, two more than
Vincent and 11 more than Pedrosa.
| MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 10
CZECH REP GP, Brno