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Biaggi picked up the win at Donnington.
Grand Prix at Donington, Raceday Sunday July 13
Inherets the Win as Rossi
But that was thrown to the wind when the bombshell dropped that Rossi was to be docked ten seconds for his offence. And although the new finishing order put Biaggi first, Gibernau second and Rossi third, the race itself was a hard-fought on-track victory for Rossi, a mighty second place for Biaggi and a resigned third for Gibernau.
Biaggi was looking as comfortable as any rider can with Rossi behind him and the Roman looked to be locked into an effective rhythm until he hit a false neutral going into the Esses on lap 13 and ran onto the dirt while Rossi slipped through into the lead. Max regained the track with dirty tyres and had to settle into a new rhythm with Rossi now two seconds ahead of him.
he managed to stay in touch and finish only 1.2 seconds behind at
the flag says much about his determination not to let the title
run away with Rossi as we reach the halfway point of the 2003 season.
Biaggi was magnanimous in victory. “The decision of the race officials means that the 25 points go my way, but as a rider I can sympathise with Rossi. I understand what he must be feeling at this time because the same thing happened to me in Barcelona in 1998 when I had won on the track. The only difference is that the decision subsequently cost me the Championship.”
Gibernau took slightly less satisfaction form the result knowing that it didn’t change the way he felt about his own performance. “I couldn’t fight with them and I had to be smart and just do what I could. They did a better job than me in qualifying and in the race and I’ll do what I can to learn form this.”
Team Marlboro Ducati's Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss finished fourth and fifth respectively, while Carlos Checa (Yamaha) and Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) were sixth and seventh. US rookie Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) recorded his best result of the year so far with an eighth place.
CAPIROSSI FOURTH AFTER MIRACLE MISS
“I made quite a good start and was right with the leading group,” said Capirossi. “Melandri passed me and we were all together. He was riding well, but when he crashed it was a miracle that I missed his bike. That lost me my concentration and also my contact with the leading group. From there I knew I couldn’t fight for the win, but the bike was perfect and my pace was very fast, especially in the last quarter of the race, which is a good sign. This four-place is important for us because this is always a very difficult race.”
BAYLISS RIDES TO DOGGED FIFTH PLACE
“For some reason I was a bit slow at first, and during the first few laps everyone seemed to be sticking it into me, or maybe I’ve just gone soft!” grinned the rock-hard Aussie. “It took me a while to get into the groove. I was reasonably happy with the second half of the race, but I don’t think I would’ve done much better anyway, maybe I would’ve had more of a battle with Loris, that’s all.”
Tohru Ukawa (Camel Pramac Pons RC211V) had a torrid time at Donington for the third year in succession when he was punted off the track at the first turn on the first lap. “I am disappointed because I had hopes of producing a good performance today,” he said. “It is clear that this circuit is unlucky for me. There is not much left to say except that I hope my luck improves in two weeks.”
Makoto Tamada (Pramac Honda RC211V) finished 13th after a troubled weekend. “I never managed to get the right feeling at the front,” he said. “I wasn’t able to be aggressive in the race precisely because I didn’t have enough feel and that’s really important here.”
Although Ryuichi Kiyonari (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) finished one place behind Tamada in 14th he was slightly more upbeat. “I wanted to improve my lap times in the race – and I did,” he said. “I was also able to confirm the effects of some settings and I’m happy about that too.”
The World Championship points table now shows Rossi still leading with 167 points, Gibernau second with 133 and Biaggi on 130.
Dominates 250 Class with Nieto on Top
The closing laps were action-packed as West repeatedly tried to steal third place from a determined Elias. First he dived inside the Spaniard at the Melbourne Loop on lap 24 of the 27-lapper, but ran wide on the exit and was repassed by Elias. Then he tired the same thing on the next lap and made it stick.
Elias was close enough in touch to try a last lap last corner inside move at Goddards, he made the first part stick and got in front of West. But he ran wide on the exit and let not only West back through for third, but he lost fourth place also to Robby Rolfo who stuck determinedly to his task throughout the race.
“It was a very hard race,” said Rolfo. “We still need a little more acceleration at tracks like Donington, right now we are giving out rivals too much of an advantage. We have to continue working hard and that’s why we leave for the Brno to test tomorrow.”
Porto (Telefonica Movistar Junior Team RS250RW) finished sixth.
“From lap ten I had problems with the engine,” he said.
“Probably something electrical because it kept coming and
going, but I finished and collected some points. We have to make
sure none of this happens in Germany.”
MotoGP to Barbera's Aprilia
Four riders were involved in the scrap: Barbera, Andrea Dovisioso (Team Scot Honda RS125R) who finished second, Stefano Perugini (Aprilia) who was third and Daniel Pedrosa (Telefonica Movistar Junior Team RS125R) who tangled with his nemesis Perugini on the final lap. Lucio Checchinello (Aprilia) was involved up front until lap 14 when he fell at Goddards and managed to rejoin the race to finish tenth. Mika Kallio (Ajo Motorsports Honda RS125R) was seventh.
Pedrosa collided with Perugini at the Melbourne Loop and was deflated and angry at his plight. “There is little to say,” he said. “I think everybody saw what happened. I had a clear chance of making the podium until Perugini stuffed me up. It cannot be that Perugini is allowed to pull these dirty moves.”
Dovisioso was mildly frustrated at the finish. “I should have been able to pass Barbera,” he said. “It was all a bit too comfortable at the front and I was going to attack him at the Melbourne Loop. But Pedrosa passed me and I had to repass him which left it too late to pass Barbera.”
The World Championship points table now shows Pedrosa still in front with 124 points, Steve Jenkner (Aprilia) second on 98 and Lucio Cecchinello third on 97 points.
Race Classification MotoGP : (30 laps = 120.69 km)
(27 laps = 108.621 km)