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MotoGPMalaysiaOctober 12, 2003
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 13
Malaysia Grand Prix at Sepang

Rossi Takes Premier Class Title Number Three With Win

Rain changed everything here in steamy Sepang when a heavy early morning fall altered track conditions on raceday - but it couldn't change the destiny of Valentino Rossi (Repsol Honda RC211V) who won in style. In front of a 30,000 crowd he won his seventh MotoGP race of the season, his third premier class title and his fifth title in all classes. Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) was second and Max Biaggi (Camel Pramac Pons RC211V) third.

This result elevates 24-year-old Rossi to the top five all-time Grand Prix winners with his tally of 57 wins: 12 in 125, 14 in 250 and now 31 in the big class. He currently stands head and shoulders above the competition and Honda's remarkable RC211V has now won 13 of the 14 races held so far in 2003.

This was not an easy win - few are in the white heat of MotoGP competition - but it was still a dominant performance by any standards. Rossi had already pulverised the opposition with his qualifying performance (a stunning 2 minute 2.480 second lap) and he was in no mood to let the title slip from his grasp with three rounds to go. He badly wanted to wrap it up here - and it showed.

Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) got the holeshot and the Spanish title challenger gave it his all from the lights to try and get away from Rossi while the Italian was lodged in fourth place on the opening lap. But on lap two Rossi was on the move and he dealt first with Loris Capirossi (Ducati) for third and then Carlos Checa (Yamaha) for second.

By lap six he was right up with Gibernau and although he had posted the fastest lap of the race at 2 minutes 3.822 seconds on lap three in his bid to keep Gibernau within range, he could clearly afford to sit back and plan his attack. He put his plan into action on lap eight when he slipped past on the brakes into a medium-speed left-hander.

That was it for Gibernau's persistent title challenge. Although he gamely kept the Italian in sight, Rossi worked his advantage without taking any unnecessary risks and when Gibernau sailed wide at turn one Rossi opened up the gap. By mid-race distance Rossi was 1.2 seconds ahead and by the end of the race he had a cushion of just over two seconds.

There was plenty of action behind the leading trio of Rossi, Gibernau and Biaggi. Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) fought hard for fourth, taking Carlos Checa (Yamaha) on the penultimate lap. The American rookie has impressed in his first season of MotoGP.

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 13
Malaysia Grand Prix at Sepang

1 Valentino Rossi (Repsol Honda Team)
2 Sete Gibernau (Team Telefonica Movistar Honda)
3 Max Biaggi (Camel Pramac Pons)
4 Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team)
5 Carlos Checa (Fortuna Yamaha Team)
6 Loris Capirossi (Ducati Marlboro Team)
7 Tohru Ukawa (Camel Pramac Pons)
8 Shinya Nakano (d'Antin Yamaha Team)
9 Troy Bayliss (Ducati Marlboro Team)
10 Makoto Tamada (Pramac Honda Team)
21 Ryuichi Kiyonari (Team Telefonica Movistar Honda)
Valentino Rossi
1 Antonio Elias (Team Repsol Telefonica Movistar)
2 Manuel Poggiali (MS Aprilia Team)
3 Fonsi Nieto (Team Repsol Telefonica Movistar)
4 Roberto Rolfo (Fortuna Honda)
5 Randy De Puniet (Safilo Oxydo-LCR)
6 Franco Battaini (Campetella Racing)
7 Naoki Matsudo (Yamaha Kurz)
8 Sebastian Porto (Telefonica Movistar jnr Team)
9 Anthony West (Team Zoppini Abruzzo)
10 Alex Baldolini (Matteoni Racing)
1 Daniel Pedrosa (Telefonica Movistar jnr Team)
2 Mika Kallio (KTM-Red Bull)
3 Jorge Lorenzo (Caja Madrid Derbi Racing)
4 Thomas Luthi (Elit Grand Prix)
5 Masao Azuma (Ajo Motorsports)
6 Alex De Angelis ( Racing)
7 Mirko Giansanti (Matteoni Racing)
8 Hector Barbera (Master-MXOnda-Aspar Team)
9 Pablo Nieto (Master-MXOnda-Aspar Team)
10 Roberto Locatelli (KTM-Red Bull)

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