Monday, September 11, 2006

Rossi wins MotoGP class of Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix

The telling move: Valentino Rossi overtakes compatriot Loris Capirossi at the last corner to win the Malaysian Grand Prix yesterday.
Photo: AP

Photo: AP

MOTO GP world champion Valentino Rossi stayed in the hunt for another coveted championship yesterday with a battling victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix, raising the stakes for next weekend's contest at Phillip Island.

The Italian Yamaha rider, who started from the pole in dry conditions in the 21-lap race, fought off an intense challenge from his countryman Loris Capirossi on a Ducati at the wide and twisting 5.5-kilometre Sepang circuit.

Title contender Spain's Daniel Pedrosa on a Honda finished third, while championship leader Nicky Hayden of the US (Honda) was fourth. Australia's Casey Stoner twisted his back during the race and faded to finish eighth.

With the victory, Rossi claimed valuable points to narrow the gap with Hayden in his bid to claim a sixth world title.

The injured Pedrosa, who started fifth, snatched the lead from Rossi on the first lap but Rossi successfully regained the top spot. Then Capirossi, last year's winner here, became the new dangerman for Rossi.

On lap 17, Capirossi overtook Rossi in a tight corner and maintained his lead despite a stiff challenge from the Yamaha rider. It was a cat-and-mouse game between the two riders but Rossi managed to outsmart Capirossi in the final laps to win the race.

Rossi described the race as an "incredible battle", saying the win brought with it 25 valuable points for his championship title.

"This time I win. The battle was incredible. I think we overtook each other at least 10 times or more," he said. "I think it is one of my best races in my career."

Capirossi, meanwhile, described the race as one of the most exciting of the season. "We have four more races to go and I hope it will be like that," he said, adding that the "championship title remains open".

Hayden leads the championship with 214 points, followed by teammate Pedrosa with 192, while Rossi has 188 points.

Challenging Hayden for fourth yesterday, Stoner looked set to charge forward before twisting his back mid-race. He was hoping to snare vital points at his home track at this weekend's Australian Grand Prix but his campaign is now under a cloud. "I'm not feeling the best, to tell you the truth — feeling a bit gritty," Stoner said.

"I went into a corner, deep on the brakes, and the bike bottomed-out a bit and then wobbled and it seemed to jink my back. I was really struggling to go into corners under brakes. I had to use my upper body to change direction and it just wore me out."

Source:- TheAge


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