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F1PortugalApril 17, 2005
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 2
Portugal Grand Prix at Estoril

Barros Dominates Rain-Hit Contest in Portugal

Qualifying >>

Veteran Alex Barros (Camel Honda RC211V), riding in his 212th premier class Grand Prix, was in a class of his own all weekend and won in the wet from Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) in second with Max Biaggi (Repsol Honda RC211V) third.

Alex BARROS (Camel Honda)

Max BIAGGI (Repsol Honda Team)

The weather was typically unpredictable on the Atlantic coast and although the race started in the dry, rain fell on lap nine of this 28-lapper. And with the new option available to riders of entering the pits to change bikes, many might have been tempted had the rain been heavier.

Conditions were at their worst at turn one, and the right-hander at the end of the start/finish straight claimed race leader Sete Gibernau (Team Movistar Honda RC211V) on lap 16 when he held a 1.1 second advantage over Barros. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) was another faller there on lap 23, although he remounted to finish sixth.

Gibernau led from the lights with Barros, Biaggi and Rossi right on him and Marco Melandri (Team Movistar Honda RC211V) in fifth. By lap four Rossi had squeezed past Max, who had to ride his number two machine after problems with his number one bike this morning.

On a cold track at 17-degrees and with heavy moisture in the air, riders were well aware of the possibility of rain and with Gibernau leading Barros by 1.3 seconds and Rossi in turn just over two seconds adrift of Barros, the first spots of rain fell.

With a change of bike taking up too much time in conditions that did not warrant full wet tyres, riders had to cope with the slippy surface on slick tyres – and it proved too much for six riders, the highest-profile faller being Gibernau.

Melandri eventually finished fourth, just ahead of Carlos Checa (Ducati) in fifth – another strong performance on the RC211V. The Italian is making up for his troubled two years at Yamaha and looks in good shape as he settles into the Movistar Team.

Troy Bayliss (Camel Honda RC211V) fell and remounted to finish 11th, while Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta Honda RC211V) sat this race out after injuring his right hand in a crash during qualifying yesterday afternoon. He should be fit to ride in China in two weeks time.

Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) finished seventh after qualifying ninth – he never properly got to grips with Estoril, and the awkward conditions hampered him in the race more than they did the less inexperienced riders in the class.

Barros, who was the fastest man in every session this weekend, said, “Thanks to the team my RC211V has been good all weekend. It was a tricky race. Sete pushed to make a gap and he made his mistake when I was trying to catch him. I had an advantage but I knew Valentino was pushing too – very tough.”

Max was happier than in Jerez. “We’ve improved a lot and our struggles with the electronics look to be over. The team is so experienced and we’ll improve even more now. The rain made things hard, but even my number two bike felt good in these conditions.”

Melandri said, “I’m very happy with that result. I chose hard compound tyres, which made things difficult at the start, but as the race went on I could battle with Colin and Checa. But I had trouble with my visor misting up and I rode the last eight laps with it open.”

“I’m not happy at all with the race or the whole weekend,” said Nicky Hayden. “We didn’t seem to click and I never felt confident on the bike. I got good drive from the start but then lost some places into turn one. When the track was good I made progress, but then things went off and I went backwards.”

Troy Bayliss said, “I’m content with the race. I started at the back but got a few places back. I was pushing hard racing with Hayden, but then I crashed. The engine stopped and I was thinking it wouldn’t start, but it’s a Honda so it did. And even though a handlebar was bent I managed to get some points.”

Sete was in measured mood about his fate today. “A real pity because I was leading with a good gap,” he said. “I wanted to avoid a physical battle. But when it rained I had no reference in front of me – there was no flag to warn me. With this new rule it makes it hard on the race leader.”

With the inaugural Grand Prix of China in two weeks time, the World Championship points table looks like this: Rossi on 45, Barros on 38, Melandri with 29, Max on 25 and Sete with 20 after two races.

Casey Stoner (Aprilia) won an enthralling 250cc race by just 0.4 seconds from Andrea Dovizioso (Scot Racing Team Honda RS250RW) with Randy de Puniet (Aprilia) third. This is Dovi’s first podium finish in only his second 250cc event.

Sebastian Porto (Aprilia) made the running as he led the pack into turn one from the off, but although the Argentine built up a substantial early-race lead of up to four and a half seconds by lap four, he could not sustain it.

Dani Pedrosa (Team Movistar Honda RS250RW) was his chief pursuer, closely followed by Dovi and de Puniet, Stoner and Alex de Angelis (Aprilia). As the damp track dried out fully by mid-race, the pack had caught Porto.

Dani now led lap 12 of this 26-lap contest, followed by Dovi, then Porto and Stoner, who would soon dispose of the Argentine. Porto now dropped back to finish a distant ninth at the flag.

A five rider group was now fighting it out and as the closing laps loomed Dani did not look comfortable and fell to the tail of the group headed alternately by Dovi, Stoner and de Puniet.

On the final lap it was Stoner in front, but de Puniet then snatched the lead going into turn one before Stoner took the initiative again. Dovi dived underneath de Puniet at the chicane to take second spot but had no answer to Stoner.

“My set-up was perfect, although I would have preferred a dry race” said Dovi. “I tried to stay in second place to be able to make a move on the final lap, but the Aprilias were very fast on the straight. I managed to outbrake de Puniet but I just couldn’t catch Stoner.”

Dani said, “I had rear tyre trouble from the start of the race. It looked like other riders were in trouble too, but it seemed worse for me. Then my visor misted up and I had to keep lifting it up to clear it and I lost ground.”

Hiroshi Aoyama (Team Movistar Honda RS250RW) finished sixth and rookie Yuki Takahashi (Scot Racing Team Honda RS250RW) seventh after a race-long duel between the two Japanese riders who have clashed before in their domestic series. Dani still leads the overall points standings with 38 points, Dovi lies second on 33 with Porto third on 27.

Mika Kallio (KTM) won his first ever 125cc Grand Prix from Hector Faubel (Aprilia) who scored his first ever rostrum finish in second. Kallio won by just three thousandths of a second while Thomas Luthi (Elit Grand Prix Honda RS125R) deprived Fabrizio Lai (Kopron Racing World Honda RS125RW) of third place by a mere four hundredths.

The 23-lap race got underway in dry conditions and it was pole-sitter Kallio who made it out of turn one in the lead. He was shadowed by his team-mate Gabor Talmacsi with Luthi right in contention – until Talmacsi fell on lap three.

The Hungarian rider’s fall caused Luthi to lose eight places as the Swiss tried to avoid the stricken rider. Luthi clipped his helmet, but Talmacsi was lucky to emerge unscathed from the incident. Luthi was now 11th, but he fought back to 9th by the end of the lap and then set fastest laps in the low 1m 47 second bracket to get back on terms with the leaders.

By lap seven Luthi was fourth, but there was a four second gap to the leading pair of Kallio and Faubel. Although Luthi managed to reduce it to 2.5 seconds with one lap to go, he would finish third by 2.9 seconds at the flag.

“It feels good to be on a podium again,” said the 18-year-old Luthi. “The race was tough for me after Talmacsi crashed and I had to push really hard to get back near the front. So I’m happy with third under the circumstances.”

Honda riders showed strongly in the top ten with Tomoyoshi Koyama (Ajo Motorsport Honda RS125R) in sixth just ahead of Alvaro Bautista (Seedorf Racing Honda RS125RW) in seventh, while Mike Di Meglio (Kopron Racing World Honda RS125R) was 11th after running as high as sixth mid-race.

Lai’s fourth place puts him third equal in the overall points standings with Faubel. Kallio heads the order with 45 to Marco Simoncelli’s 31.

Marco MELANDRI (Team Movistar Honda MotoGP)

Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)

Alex Barros, Camel Honda, 1st:
“I made a strike today, I’m unbelievably happy, this has been a perfect weekend. I have to thank both the team and Michelin, they have given me great things to work with. We’ve taken every session here, pole position and victory too. I also want to thank my sponsor Camel, who have filled me with confidence. This morning the conditions were difficult, and in the warm-up we went out on wet tyres but the track wasn’t that damp. The race was even more complicated. The track was virtually dry at the beginning but then there were a few drops. There was a moment when Sete took a bit of an advantage, then he slowed and I caught him up. I began to push and push, trying to put pressure on him, even though I could feel the raindrops on my helmet and on the bike. Then he lost the front end and crashed out, he was at the limit. They put out the white flag, but I didn’t think about coming in for one moment, it wasn’t raining enough for that, and it wasn’t even worth putting on intermediate tyres. It was a tough race, the track was in difficult conditions, but the satisfaction is enormous. Valentino pushed me hard at the end, and though I tried to respond, I lost a few seconds on the last laps, but only because I was preparing my celebrations!”

Max Biaggi, Repsol Honda Team, 3rd:
“Someone has certainly said that today Max Biaggi is there. Let me tell you: Max Biaggi has always been there. But today we also had a good bike. Even if we can do much, much better. HRC’s potential is far higher than that. Unfortunately I had to race with the second bike because bike No.1, the machine I had the better feeling with, had a technical problem. Definitely, today’s third place leaves us satisfied. I’m happy for me and especially for my team: finally I saw them smiling and I thank them all. This podium was really needed to recharge our batteries on the way to China’s GP. Our job is not done yet, but we are on the right way: the answer I was looking for is in the electronics.”

Marco Melandri, Movistar Honda, 4th:
“I'm very satisfied with this result. We went out with a hard tyre and it was tough at the beginning. As the race went on I got a good rhythm together and it allowed me to stick it out with Edwards and Checa. I had a lot of confidence in the tyres and that gave me more stability. I was trying out a new helmet and it steamed up, so I had to do the last 8 laps with my visor open. It meant I couldn't go any harder at the end but I am happy.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda Team, 7th:
“I’m not very happy about the race at all or the way the whole weekend went really. We didn’t seem to click all weekend and I never felt 100% comfortable on the bike. I got good drive at the start but lost places on the first turn. During the first few laps, when the tyres and the track was good, I was making progress. Then things just seemed to go off and I went backwards. It’s difficult to describe how wet the track was in parts. I just wanted to hang on, get some experience and get some points. There are a lotta’ races left and we’ve gotta’ lot of racing left to do.”

Troy Bayliss, Camel Honda, 11th:
“It might seem strange, but I’m quite happy with my race. I was starting down the order a bit, but I managed to get a good start. I got to seventh, and was having a good battle with Hayden, pushing to the limit, when I crashed out. The bike stalled, and automatically thinking about last year’s bike I thought my race was over, that I wouldn’t be able to start it again. I tried it anyway and it started up again. I got going again and even though the handlebars were all twisted I picked up some points by bringing the bike home. It will go better next time. Congratulations to Alex, he was great today, I’m happy for him and for the team.”

Sete Gibernau, Movistar Honda: DNF
“The only mistake I made was to lead from the start. It was a very tough race and it was important to judge the marshals' flags properly because that was the only reference I had of how much water was on the track. Wherever there was a flag I slowed down and where there wasn't one I sped up. I didn't go mad, I was in control of the race and I was even slower at the end of the straight than usual, but it wasn't enough. The weekend was a lot tougher for me than people might expect, but once again we worked perfectly. I tried to get away and avoid contact with any other riders but the crash was unavoidable. In the end we've paid for it because the other riders saw the crash and dropped their pace by three seconds. On another day it will be somebody else but in these situations the person at the front is at a disadvantage. Now I just want to get home to Switzerland, continue my recuperation with my physical trainer and get a good rest before China.”

Luca Montiron, Konica Minolta Honda Team Manager:
“The hope is that after Makoto’s injuries, bad luck will definitely abandon us. As Makoto could have a potential problem to the right wrist, it doesn’t have any sense to risk anything and let him participate in the Grand Prix. The season has just begun and we have to concentrate on how to recover our rider as quick as possible. For this we’ll begin to prepare ourselves for the Grand Prix of China, where we’ll absolutely have to be back at our level. Makoto really care to compete on the circuit of Shangai, since that is one of the few Grand Prix which will be in Asiatic land. Tomorrow, obviously, we’ll not take part to the test session programmed here at the Estoril.”

Dott. Mattioli, Mobile Clinic:
“Makoto has a lot of pain. After the first few exams we suspected a fracture close to the scaphoid. The rider cannot completely move his right hand and he will not be able to participate to today’s race. We’ll understand what the injury is exactly about only after the CAT scan which the rider will have in the next few days. At the moment we have applied a Scotchcast to restrict the movement of the injured wrist.”

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 2
Portugal Grand Prix at Estoril

1 Alex BARROS (Camel Honda)
2 Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha)
3 Max BIAGGI (Repsol Honda Team)
4 Marco MELANDRI (Team Movistar Honda MotoGP)
5 Carlos Checa (Ducati Marlboro Team)
6 Colin EDWARDS (Gauloises Yamaha Team)
7 Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)
8 Shinya NAKANO (Kawasaki Racing Team)
9 Loris CAPIROSSI (Ducati Marlboro Team)
10 Ruben XAUS (Fortuna Yamaha Team)
11 Troy BAYLISS (Camel Honda)
12 Kenny ROBERTS (Team Suzuki MotoGP)
13 Roberto ROLFO (D'Antin MotoGP)
14 Toni ELIAS (Fortuna Yamaha Team)
15 James ELLISON (Blata WCM)

Alex BARROS (Camel Honda) & Max BIAGGI (Repsol Honda Team)
1 Casey STONER (Carrera Sunglasses - LCR)
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Team Scot)
3 Randy DE PUNIET (Aprilia Aspar 250cc)
4 Daniel PEDROSA (Telefonica Movistar Honda 250cc)
5 Alex DE ANGELIS (MS Aprilia Italia Corse)
6 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Telefonica Movistar Honda 250)
7 Yuki TAKAHASHI (Team Scot)
8 Sylvain GUINTOLI (Equipe GP de France - Scrab)
9 Sebastian PORTO (Aprilia Aspar 250cc)
10 Jorge LORENZO (Fortuna Honda)
11 Hector BARBERA (Fortuna Honda)
12 Jakub SMRZ (Arie Molenaar Racing)
13 Alex DEBON (Wurth Honda BQR)
14 Mirko GIANSANTI (Matteoni Racing)
15 Martin CARDENAS (Aprilia Germany)
1 Mika KALLIO (Red Bull KTM GP125)
2 Hector FAUBEL (Master Aspar)
3 Thomas LUTHI (Elit Grand Prix)
4 Fabrizio LAI (Kopron Racing World)
5 Manuel POGGIALI (Metis Racing Team)
6 Tomoyoshi KOYAMA (Ajo Motorsport)
7 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Seedorf RC3 - Tiempo Holidays)
8 Mattia PASINI (Totti Top Sport - NGS)
9 Julian SIMON (Red Bull KTM GP125)
10 Marco SIMONCELLI ( Race)
11 Mike DI MEGLIO (Kopron Racing World)
12 Pablo NIETO (Caja Madrid - Derbi Racing)
13 Alexis MASBOU (Ajo Motorsport)
14 Toshihisa KUZUHARA (Angaia Racing)
15 Manuel HERNANDEZ (Totti Top Sport - NGS)

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