It was an all-Italian podium at Mugello on Sunday, with Valentino Rossi beating Loris Capirossi and Max Biaggi to the title in a close battle.
It was an all-Italian podium at Mugello on Sunday, with Valentino Rossi beating Loris Capirossi and Max Biaggi to the title in a closely-fought battle.
Rossi was on pole at the Italian Grand Prix, but Capirossi got off to a good start and led for the opening laps. Biaggi took over the lead on the fifth lap, but he conceded the lead to Rossi two laps later.
Biaggi and Capirossi stayed on Rossi’s tail and the lead continued to change throughout the race. With seven laps remaining, Rossi opened up a slight lead and left his compatriots to battle for second spot. Capirossi, on a Ducati, eventually won the second-place battle.
“To win this race in front of so many people here is very special. My congratulations go to Loris and Max because they both rode a great race, and I think it was a good spectacle. On the last lap I was worried because I saw my pit board say Loris was coming, but I kept my concentration, kept my rhythm and arrived first. I am so happy,” said Rossi.
Capirossi said it was a great day for Ducati at their home race. The result lifted him from 13th to seventh in the standings. “This is fantastic – it feels as good as a win. I tried my best – got into a good rhythm from the start, but then Max and Valentino came. Valentino was so fast, then I had a big fight with Max. It was so difficult to overtake him but my bike had fantastic top speed, so I was able to do it,” said Capirossi.
Earlier, Italian Lucio Cecchinello and Manuel Poggiali of San Marino triumphed in the 125cc and 250cc races respectively.
1 Valentino Rossi (Italy) Honda
2 Loris Capirossi (Italy) Ducati
3 Max Biaggi (Italy) Honda
4 Makoto Tamada (Japan) Honda
5 Shinya Nakano (Japan) Yamaha
6 Tohru Ukawa (Japan) Honda
7 Sete Gibernau (Spain) Honda
8 Carlos Checa (Spain) Yamaha
9 Colin Edwards (USA) Aprilia
10 Olivier Jacque (France) Yamaha.
1 Valentino Rossi (Italy) Honda 115 points
2 Max Biaggi (Italy) Honda 83
3 Sete Gibernau (Spain) Honda 72
4 Alex Barros (Brazil) Yamaha 46
5 Tohru Ukawa (Japan) Honda 42
6 Troy Bayliss (Australia) Ducati 40
7 Loris Capirossi (Italy) Ducati 36
8 Shinya Nakano (Japan) Yamaha 33
9 Olivier Jacque (France) Yamaha 32
10 Nicky Hayden (USA) Honda 26.