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MotoGPSeptember 7, 2003
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 11
Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril

Rossi Puts on a Powerful Display of Pace and Precision

This was the reigning World Champion's first pair of back-to-back wins since Portugal and Brazil last year. The fact that he had to wait this long for another double shows the pressure Valentino Rossi (Repsol Honda RC211V) has been under from his rivals this year. But today Rossi won comfortably in front of a 45,000 crowd in bright sunshine, with Max Biaggi (Camel Pramac Pons RC211V) second and Loris Capirossi (Ducati) third.

Biaggi made the early running after getting a smooth start and an unhindered run into the often chaotic turn one here at the 4.182km Estoril track. And by the end of the first lap the Roman had pulled out a 0.6s lead over Rossi who had now put Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) and Capirossi behind him after a suitably cautious run into the first corner.

But Rossi was right up with Biaggi by lap four and riding right in Biaggi's wheel-tracks, as well as occasionally showing his rival a bit of front wheel when he chose slightly different lines to the Camel Pramac Pons rider. But Biaggi was unflustered and intent on riding smoothly at his own rapid pace.

The pair were circulating in the low 1m 39s bracket and no one else could stay with them. Behind the warring Honda duo were Capirossi and Gibernau, locked into their own struggle, a struggle that was to come alive with spectacular effect on the last lap of the 28-lap race.

Rossi made his break on lap 14 and Biaggi had no immediate answer to the onslaught. The World Champion slid past him at turn one and then turned the screw, immediately pulling out a one second advantage by the end of that lap. He remorselessly motored on, and by the final few laps was 3.6s ahead before easing off on the last lap.

But behind them, a storm was brewing. Gibernau had passed Capirossi on lap 11 and after stretching out a lead of just less than one second, he looked as if he might build on it and achieve a comfortable, if mildly disappointing, third place. But Capirossi stuck to his task and by the start of the final lap was right on the Spaniard's tail.

The Italian then surged past into turn one and Gibernau was right on his tail. Then, exiting turn seven Capirossi got his Ducati badly out of shape and Gibernau needed no invitation to slice past him into the chicane. But Capirossi had the speed and guile to slipstream Sete and make his move out of the draught as they approached the line to take third by just over one hundredth of a second.

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 11
Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril

1 Valentino Rossi (Repsol Honda Team)
2 Max Biaggi (Camel Pramac Pons)
3 Loris Capirossi (Ducati Marlboro Team)
4 Sete Gibernau (Team Telefonica Movistar Honda)
5 Tohru Ukawa (Camel Pramac Pons)
6 Troy Bayliss (Ducati Marlboro Team)
7 Marco Melandri (Fortuna Yamaha Team)
8 Carlos Checa (Fortuna Yamaha Team)
9 Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team)
10 Makoto Tamada (Pramac Honda Team)
16 Ryuichi Kiyonari (Team Telefonica Movistar Honda)
Valentino Rossi
1 Antonio Elias (Team Repsol Telefonica Movistar)
2 Manuel Poggiali (MS Aprilia Team)
3 Randy De Puniet (Safilo Oxydo-LCR)
4 Roberto Rolfo (Fortuna Honda)
5 Sebastian Porto (Telefonica Movistar jnr Team)
6 Franco Battaini (Campetella Racing)
7 Sylvain Guintoli (Campetella Racing)
8 Naoki Matsudo (Yamaha Kurz)
9 Fonsi Nieto (Team Repsol Telefonica Movistar)
10 Anthony West (Team Zoppini Abruzzo)
1 Pablo Nieto (Master-MXOnda-Aspar Team)
2 Hector Barbera (Master-MXOnda-Aspar Team)
3 Alex De Angelis ( Racing)
4 Daniel Pedrosa (Telefonica Movistar jnr Team)
5 Arnaud Vincent (Sterilgarda Racing)
6 Jorge Lorenzo (Caja Madrid Derbi Racing)
7 Gabor Talmacsi (Exalt Cycle Red Devil)
8 Andrea Dovizioso (Team Scot)
9 Simone Corsi (Team Scot)
10 Mirko Giansanti (Matteoni Racing)
13 Masao Azuma (Ajo Motorsports)

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