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MotoGPMay 11, 2003
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 3
South Spanish GP, Jerez, Spain

Rossi Puts Heat on Rivals with Spanish Win

A partisan crowd of 130,000 had to be disappointed with the early departures of their Spanish heroes Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) and Carlos Checa (Yamaha) in the first half of the race. But no one could begrudge Valentino Rossi (Repsol Honda RC211V) his second win of the season in searing conditions that saw track temperatures of around 41 degrees centigrade.

Rossi won in style with a stand-up wheelie across the line while second-placed Max Biaggi (Camel Pramac Pons RC211V) and Troy Bayliss (Ducati) were slightly were more reserved in celebrating their podium places.

The 27-lap MotoGP race began with a mad rush into the uphill right-hand turn one, and it was Bayliss who rocketed into the lead as the pack bumped and bored its way around the first circuit of the 4.423km track. Then teammate Loris Capirossi collided with him on the back straight, the Italian coming off better in the altercation and grabbing the lead.

But Rossi was already sizing up his fellow countryman, having hoisted himself from seventh to second by the end of the first lap. RossiÕs ability to carve his way through the chaos of the opening lap gave him the impetus he needed to stalk Capirossi and then dive inside him at the final left-hand hairpin on lap four. And then he was gone.

Lap after lap he piled on the agony for his pursuers, putting anything between two and four tenths of a second into the gap between his number 46 machine and the RC211V of his erstwhile antagonist Biaggi. Biaggi easily managed to maintain the second place he had grabbed on lap six but could make no impression on the rampaging Rossi.

With Biaggi out of BaylissÕ range in second and Bayliss similarly clear of the rest of the field, the action was concentrated on fourth place and beyond. Fourth eventually went to Tohru Ukawa (Camel Pramac Pons RC211) from Alex Barros (Yamaha) but not without a huge fight from the inspired rookie Makoto Tamada (Pramac Honda RC211V) along the way.

Rossi, who set a new lap record of 1m 42.788s on lap five on his way to GP win number 52, now has a tally of five wins at this happy Spanish hunting ground. ÒIÕm happy,Ó he said. ÒThe biggest problem everyone had was traction and we knew we had to work on making the bike controllable even with large amounts of wheelspin. I had a bad start but I didnÕt want anyone to get away and so I had to make a lot of places up before I got behind Capirossi. I had a bit more speed than him and that was it.Ó

Biaggi was more relieved than happy at securing a solid points haul when he was in danger of coming away with little or nothing in the early qualifying stages.

ÒIÕm happy with this after the qualifying troubles,Ó he said. ÒOn Friday I was down in 12th, then I was on the front row on Saturday and now today a podium. Everyone dreams of winning and riding with the number one plate, but in these conditions you take what you can get. I had a lot of fun overtaking other riders in the early laps but it was quite lonely towards the end.Ó

Things got better as the race wore on for Ukawa who wasted a front row grid slot with a sluggish start and then couldnÕt push through the field until after mid-race distance.

ÒThe bike was not giving me enough confidence to push at the start,Ó said the Japanese star. ÒThen as the race went on things actually got better and I could make up places, but it was too late to make decent progress. Maybe thereÕs a small problem with me too, I seem to take too long to get into a rhythm at the moment.Ó

For Gibernau it was all a case of what might have been. ÒIt was a real shame,Ó said the Spaniard. ÒWhen I was chasing Valentino the front end let go. I didnÕt want to settle for second in front of this great crowd but I still have to adapt to this bike. WeÕre staying to test tomorrow and hopefully IÕll arrive at Le Mans with another chance of winning.Ó

Tamada made his rookie tag look faintly ridiculous as he stormed to sixth in only his third MotoGP race and his first visit to Jerez. ÒIÕm very satisfied,Ó he said. ÒA day like this really pumps up the motivation. This is what we need to move forward and IÕm really looking to the Le Mans race although we need to remember not to get carried away with this result.Ó

Nicky Hayden (Respsol Honda RC211V) went out on lap nine. ÒMy start wasnÕt great,Ó he said. ÒThen I caught a good group and got into a rhythm before the engine felt a little slower. Then I fell off and IÕm disappointed because I knew I was going to finish higher. IÕm aching a bit now as it was a pretty fast fall.Ó

Rossi leads the points standings after three races with 70 and Biaggi is second on 56, followed by Bayliss on 40 and Gibernau with 38.

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 3
South Spanish GP, Jerez, Spain

1 Valentino Rossi (Repsol Honda)
2 Max Biaggi (Camel Pramac Pons)
3 Troy Bayliss (Ducati Marlboro Team)
4 Tohru Ukawa (Camel Pramac Pons)
5 Alex Barros (Gauloises Yamaha Team)
6 Makoto Tamada (Pramac Honda)
7 John Hopkins (Suzuki Grand Prix Team)
8 Shinya Nakano (d'Ant’n Yamaha Team)
9 Nobuatsu Aoki (Proton Team KR)
10 Olivier Jacque (Gauloises Yamaha Team)
11 Noriyuki Haga (Alice Aprilia Racing)
12 Jeremy Mcwilliams (Proton Team KR)
13 Kenny Roberts (Suzuki Grand Prix Team)
14 Colin Edwards (Alice Aprilia Racing)
15 Andrew Pitt (Kawasaki Racing Team)
Valentino Rossi
1 Toni Elias (Team Repsol Telefonica Movistar)
2 Roberto Rolfo (Fortuna Honda)
3 Randy De Punet (Safilo Oxydo-LCR)
4 Manuel Poggiali (MS Aprilia Team)
5 Anthony West (Team Zoppini Abruzzo)
6 Sebastian Porto (Telefonica Movistar jnr Team)
7 Fonsi Nieto (Team Repsol Telefonica Movist)
8 Naoki Matsudo (Yamaha Kurz)
9 Alex Debon (Troll Honda BQR)
10 Joan Olive (Aspar Junior Team)
11 Franco Battaini (Campetella Racing)
12 Alex Baldolini (Matteoni Racing)
13 Eric Battaille (Honda BQR)
14 Christian Gemmel (Kiefer Castrol-Honda Racing)
15 Dirk Heidorf (Aprilia Germany)
1 Lucio Cecchinello (Safilo Oxydo-LCR)
2 ve Jenkner (Exalt Cycle Red Devil)
3 Alex De Angelis (Racing World)
4 Daniel Pedrosa (Telefonica Movistar jnr Team)
5 Stefano Perugini (Abruzzo Racing Team)
6 Casey Stoner (Safilo Oxydo-LCR)
7 Hector Barbera (Master-MXOnda-Aspar Team)
8 Youichi Ui (Sterilgarda Racing)
9 Andrea Dovizioso (Team Scot)
10 Mirko Giansanti (Matteoni Racing)
11 Masao Azuma (Ajo Motorsports)
12 Thomas Luthi (Elit Grand Prix)
13 Gino Borsoi (Racing World)
14 Marco Simoncelli (Matteoni Racing)
15 Jorge Lorenzo (Caja Madrid Derbi Racing)

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