Rossi did not get the best of starts from pole position but worked his way up from fifth after the first lap to take the lead by the midway stage, taking over from Marco Melandri (Honda) on lap ten and gradually opening out a crucial advantage. Edwards followed his team-mate through the opening few laps to make up some important positions from sixth on the grid, quickly settling into the excellent race pace he had found during practice and finally getting the opportunity to impose it on the front group. One lap after seeing Rossi take the lead, Edwards passed Sete Gibernau (Honda) for third place and did everything he could to catch Melandri for second, before deciding to settle for a podium finish. As Melandri escaped from the American he also began to close the gap on his Italian compatriot at the front, but a stunning final lap of 2’00.991 from Rossi was the fastest of the race and sealed the win by 1.583 seconds.
VALENTINO ROSSI (1st; 38’41.808)
“Today was another hard battle, as it has been every race this season. At the start the grip was tricky because of the rain this morning and I lost some places and had to overtake Loris and Nakano to arrive behind the three Hondas. I knew I could go a bit faster and after I passed them all I made some good laps and it became easier to ride on the limit, as there was less fuel. Melandri was very strong today and he came back to fight until the end. I had to keep pushing at 100% and really concentrate, especially on the last lap, when I made no mistakes and the fastest lap of the race. It was incredible for everybody. My bike worked perfectly again, so thank you to Yamaha and my team for all the brilliant work they’ve done, and to Michelin because the tyres were really good. We have a great atmosphere in our team and this makes it very easy to relax and give 100% every time. It’s a pleasure to try to win together. I can’t believe that I am the first Yamaha rider to win five races in a row, when you look at the company I am in with Yamaha’s former World Champions – Agostini, Lawson, Roberts and Rainey, it’s great.”
COLIN EDWARDS (3rd; + 7.643)
“Of course it could still have been better, but it was a good race. We made a breakthrough with the bike set-up this week and it just felt really good, better than it’s felt all season I think. I had a bad start, then I saw Valentino and realised his wasn’t great either! The first corner I passed a couple and then on the back straight it was chaos with everyone trying to pass anywhere! I tried to follow Valentino through the traffic, then I got stuck behind Gibernau for a bit when he started to slow down. I got some time back when Marco made his big mistake and I saw red and really pushed hard to catch him! With four laps to go I was on the limit and lost the front really badly at turn two. When exactly the same thing happened on the next lap I decided it was safer to take it easy, get home on two wheels and make it onto the podium. I want to say a big thank you to my team and my Crew Chief Daniele Romagnoli, they’ve worked hard to find the right way forward and now I am going to Laguna in great shape.”
“It was a very good day and once again both riders are on the podium with Valentino taking victory. Every race is different and this time it was a great fight with Melandri and with Colin also in the fighting group. It was very exciting to watch such good racing. This also shows the big progress that Yamaha has made and in this sense our engineers and team crew are really working very well. I’m just very lucky to be a representative of such a fantastic team. It’s also very encouraging to be going to Laguna Seca in this situation, when we will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Yamaha.”