Rossi surprised nobody by winning the third MotoGP of the season
in his by now expected emphatic style.
A poor start saw Rossi back in
8th place with the early running being made by Sete Gibernau, anxious
to impress his home crowd, and the Ducati pairing of Loris Capirossi
and Troy Bayliss. John Hopkins appeared finally to have put the
Suzuki gremlins to bed as he slotted into a highly respectable fourth
Sadly for three of these riders,
though, this situation was not going to remain.
Rossi drew on some form of superhuman
ability and simply came up through the field as though he were filtering
through rush hour traffic. Having got into the lead he just kept
the pressure up and left the rest behind.
Gibernau, perhaps trying too hard,
perhaps still flushed with the knowledge that he can
beat Rossi on the right day, threw his Honda into the gravel trap
and did a fantastic impression of Charlton Heston at the end of
"Planet of the Apes" before he was led away, unhurt but
distraught, by the marshalls.
was proving hugely entertaining as he smoked the big Ducati out
of most turns. Fortunately he was not seriously hurt when the Ducati
took exception to this and spat him rather unceremoniously onto
the tarmac after he seemd to catch the looming highside.
Suzuki's dismal season continued
as Hopkins went backwards through the field with either handling
or performance problems.
Biaggi stormed up from a lowly
start, some highly effective overtakes showing that while he's definitely
playing second fiddle to Rossi at the moment he's not without talent
and shouldn't be written off just yet.
Which left the third spot on the
podium to be taken by Troy Bayliss. Proving yet again why he's so
popular, in the post race interview the Australian commented that
he was "Glad to be up here with these guys," referring
to the undoubted abilities of his fellow podium sitters.
The championship is hardly wide
open - Rossi has won everything so far and has built a commanding
lead - but the racing so far has been the best for several years.
Roll on the next round...