By clinching his first win of the MotoGP season, veteran Max Biaggi covered more ground in his fight for the driver’s championship in a race characterised by falling riders and Sachsenring’s many twisty corners.

By clinching his first win of the MotoGP season, veteran Max Biaggi covered more ground in his fight for the driver’s championship in a race characterised by falling riders and Sachsenring’s many twisty corners.

At the German circuit, Alex Barros and Nicky Hayden challenged Biaggi to the finish line and ensured Honda’s podium sweep at the German Grand Prix on Sunday.

His win inched Biaggi to within one point of the championship leader Rossi while Sete Gibernau, who crashed out of the race on the ninth lap, moves into third position.

"This is a fantastic result for me and really important for the championship", Biaggi commented after his win. "It was a tough race because there are no long straights here to relax on and 30 laps of constant corners is hard work. But we did a good job here.”

The race was littered with fallen riders and bikes, as besides Gibernau who fell for the second time in consecutive races, Carlos Checa and Loris Capirossi slid out of third position while Marco Melandri’s spectacular high speed crash also ended the race for his team mate, Norick Abe.

Hayden, assisted by the chaos in the field, recovered well from his twelfth place on lap one to move into third by lap ten. Hayden and Barros then launched an assault on leaders Rossi, who started developing tyre problems in the second phase of the race, and Biaggi.

The Doctor’s quest for maximum points soon faded as he steadily lost places to first Biaggi, Barros and then Hayden to finish fourth.

Hayden said: “It was real tough at the start, I made contact and lost a few spots. I really had to get my head down and take my chances in the early laps. I passed two at a time - I had to do it, it was my only shot at the podium. I rode hard for the whole race. I really abused my tyres and at the end of the race I had to collect my thoughts with Rossi behind me. Any how, I hung on, took the box finish and we move on to Donington from here."

Hayden’s Repsol Honda team mate, Barros said: "The race went very well. I had some contact with Sete at the start of the race and lost a few places, then I rode hard and fought for the win. Overall the machine worked very well. It was the first race for me this season when I really had a chance to fight for the win.”

”The bike was going really well but the tyres were wearing on the left hand side and I would have risked crashing if I had pushed any harder,” fourth placed Rossi commented. “It was difficult to steer the bike towards the end. Honda has made another step forward and we are a bit behind. We need at least another race to make improvements.”

Five Honda riders finished in the top six with Colin Edwards in fifth place and Makoto Tamada in sixth. Shinya Nakano finished in seventh place ahead of the Suzuki pairing of Kenny Roberts and John Hopkins.