Valentino Rossi won the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday after he collided with then race-leader, rival Sete Gibernau, at the final corner of the last lap.

Valentino Rossi won the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday after he collided with then race-leader, rival Sete Gibernau, at the final corner of the last lap.

In what was expected to be a Gibernau/Rossi battle after the pair had dominated the pre-race events, the Spaniard was the fastest on the track for a large part of the first race of the season at Jerez.

When the race got under way, Rossi in pole position and Gibernau swapped the lead throughout the opening sequence of turns. Gibernau had been the fastest in every session leading up to the race, excluding qualifying.

With Honda riders Marco Melandri and Nicky Hayden in tow, the pair soon began to edge away from the rest of the field. The blistering pace would start to take its toll on the younger riders as first Hayden, and then Melandri, faded back. However, Hayden was able to maintain a comfortable third position ahead of Melandri before he lost the front of his machine with eight laps to go.

Though briefly able to rejoin the race with the help of marshals, Melandri was basically handed the final podium position as a five-way battle for fourth raged behind him.

With four laps to go, it was an all-out fight as Gibernau and Rossi pushed each other to the finish. Rossi's break came with two laps to go as he dipped under Gibernau's guard and sped off. In reply, Gibernau stepped up his challenge and started the final lap one second behind the Italian rider.

Going past the stadium section, Rossi almost lost the front again, allowing Gibernau to lead into the final corner. Rossi then charged up the inside and the two made contact, the impact sending Sete careering into the gravel run-off area.

After just making the corner, the Italian ace went on to take victory, while a clearly disappointed Gibernau took second in front of his home crowd. The Spaniards were rather unimpressed with Rossi's manoeuvre on the final corner, and he was met with jeers on his slowdown lap and as he accepted his trophy.

Marco Melandri finished the race in third for RCV's debut podium finish, while Alex Barros finished fourth. Kawasaki's Shinya Nakano and Troy Bayliss were fifth and sixth, respectively. Max Biaggi rode a solid race to finish seventh ahead of former team-mate Makoto Tamada.

In what was expected to be a Gibernau/Rossi battle after the pair had dominated the pre-race events, the Spaniard was the fastest on the track for a large part of the first race of the season at Jerez.

When the race got underway, Rossi in pole position and Gibernau swapped the lead throughout the opening sequence of turns. Gibernau had been the fastest in every session leading up to the race, excluding qualifying.

With Honda riders Marco Melandri and Nicky Hayden in tow, the top four soon began to edge away from the rest of the field. The blistering pace would start to take its toll on the younger riders as first Hayden, and then Melandri, faded back. However, Hayden was able to maintain a comfortable third position ahead of Melandri before he lost the front of his machine with eight laps to go.

Though briefly able to rejoin the race with the help of marshals, Melandri was basically handed the final podium position as a five-way battle for fourth raged behind him.

With four laps to go, it was an all-out fight as Gibernau and Rossi pushed each other to the finish. Rossi's break came with two laps to go as he dipped under Gibernau's guard and sped off. In reply, Gibernau stepped up his challenge and started the final lap one second behind the Italian rider.

Going past the stadium section, Rossi almost lost the front again, allowing Gibernau to lead into the final corner. Rossi then charged up the inside where the two made contact and Sete went careering into the gravel run-off area.

After just making the corner, the Italian ace went on to take victory, while a clearly disappointed Gibernau took second in front of his home crowd. The Spaniards were rather unimpressed with Rossi's manoeuvre on the final corner, and he was met with jeers on his slowdown lap and as he accepted his trophy.

Marco Melandri finished the race in third for RCV's debut podium finish, while Alex Barros finished fourth. Kawasaki's Shinya Nakano and Troy Bayliss were fifth and sixth, respectively. Max Biaggi rode a solid race to finish seventh ahead of former team-mate Makoto Tamada.