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rossi back on top

17th august 2003
Words by simon bradley, pictures courtesy of dorna/motogp

Despite it being a less than textbook performance, Valentino Rossi convincingly won the Brno round of the MotoGP season. Cogniscenti are suggesting that this was the best race of the season, and we're not about to argue with them.

Rossi and second places Sete Gibernau were at it hammer and tongs from the start, as were the Ducati pairing of Bayliss and Capirossi. Indeed, Bayliss got the holeshot and looked promising for a win, leading the first third of the race in fine style before being mugged by the two Honda pilots. The leading quartet then proceeded to swap positions for the rest of the race, while showing that there are almost as many alternative lines around Brno as can be imagined. The lurid power slides and rear wheel steering that accompanied this demonstration of technical brilliance, both of riders and machines, had to be seen to be believed.

Capirossi had fought his way to third before a mechanical problem on lap 13 led to his fourth DNF of the season. Bayliss was then left to carry the Ducati banner in third place, always about asecond behind the Hondas beut never losing touch.

Rossi was not his normal relaxed self, and made a few uncharacteristic mistakes which did him no favours at all, although of course they made things all the better for the audience. However, his display of ability was so convincing that even when a major error demoted him to fourth nobody was about to bet against his regaining the lead.

The last few laps was the leading pair exchanging mistakes as well as overtakes until Rossi made a decisive overtake 3 or 4 corners from the end and made it stick, beating Gibernau to the line by just four hundreths of a second. Bayliss, in third place, should draw strength from an excellent result that saw him just half a second behind the winner at the end.

But what of the rest of the field? Seven times Brno winner Max Biaggi had a disappointing race and was never really a threat to the leading group. He finished fifth behind Yamaha mounted Carlos Checa. Nicky Hayden went well to finish sixth ahead of Barros, Ukawa, Tamada and Melandri.

The championship is still wide open, with Rossi holding a mere 34 point lead over Gibernau who in turn is 37 points clear of Biaggi.


1 Valentino Rossi (Honda)
2 Sete Gibernau (Honda)
3 Troy Bayliss (Ducati)
4 Carlos Checa (Yamaha)
5 Max Biaggi (Honda)
6 Nicky Hayden (Honda)
7 Alex Barros (Yamaha)
8 Tohru Ukawa (Honda)
9 Makoto Tamada (Honda)
10 Marco Melandri (Yamaha)







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