Valentino Rossi rounded off his “best season ever” with his ninth win in a closely fought contest, fighting off the advances of Tamada and Biaggi in the final laps.

Valentino Rossi rounded off his “best season ever” with his ninth win in a closely fought contest, fighting off the advances of Tamada and Biaggi in the final laps.

Engaged in a race-long battle first with Makoto Tamada and, later, old rival Max Biaggi, Rossi went on to take the chequered flag by just 0,4 seconds over the Emperor.

Tamada took the lead early in the race after Sete Gibernau and Biaggi ran wide during a close scrap. Rossi slipped into second place and began closing in on the Japanese rider, drawing even with him on the fourth lap.

>However, as Nicky Hayden, Troy Bayliss and Biaggi were closing in on the top riders, Tamada started losing steam on lap 17, allowing these riders through.


Meanwhile, Rossi held a slim lead over Biaggi, which steadily dwindled as the race drew to an end. Biaggi eventually crossed the line 0,4 seconds behind championship leader Rossi.

Bayliss went on to finish third ahead of Gibernau and Tamada, while Alex Barros finished sixth. Shinya Nakano was seventh, ahead of a disappointed Colin Edwards.