Rossi’s 54th career MotoGP victory was sealed with a perfectly timed run in the second half of the race, passing early leader Casey Stoner (Honda) on lap 10 of 22 and holding off a late attack from Nicky Hayden (Honda) and Loris Capirossi (Ducati), who completed the podium. The win bring Rossi’s premier-class tally level with that of Mick Doohan, with only the legendary Giacomo Agostini now ahead of him on 68 victories.
Colin Edwards endured a difficult aternoon after front-end problems that appeared throughout the weekend returned to haunt him in the race. The American started from eighth on the grid and made a good start, moving up to sixth place by lap five, but he was unable to maintain the fast and consistent pace he showed practice and he eventually dropped to ninth. Rossi’s victory moves him up to fourth in the championship, fourteen points behind early leader Capirossi after two rounds of seventeen.
VALENTINO ROSSI - 1st; 43’22.229
"That was a great race – it was hard but that is what made it such fun. My M1 worked really well today - as the race went on the grip went down and the catter completely disappeared, so I was able to go fast at the end. This win is important for the championship but even more so from a mental point of view for me and the team. It was windy but the grip was good and I was able to chase Stoner, who was very fast at the start.
When his tyres went down I was able to pass him and I thought I could escape but Nicky stayed with me. Then I looked back and saw Loris was coming too so I began to get worried about the last few laps. Anyway, I pushed hard and managed to hold on. It is great to be level with Mick Doohan, now only Giacomo Agostini is ahead of me. Records are not the most important thing but they are always nice! This feels like the start of the campionship for me. Jerez was a nightmare but here we woke up! Big thanks to Jeremy and all the guys because they stayed focused during a difficult time and this is their reward.”
COLIN EDWARDS - 9th; 43’45.149 (+22.920)
"I made a good start and over the first five laps I felt fine – the bike was good and I was able to ride aggressively. I thought: ‘okay, let’s go for it.’ Then on lap six I lost the front three times in a row and I almost crashed on each one of them. I thought it was a bit early in the race for that to happen so I pushed on and got going again but the front kept going and I had to ride slower and slower. In the practice simulation I ran a 1’57.2 on my last lap but in the race it was three seconds slower so clearly something is not right. Thankfully we have a test tomorrow to find out what it was and make sure that we are in better shape for Turkey.”
DAVIDE BRIVIO – CAMEL YAMAHA TEAM DIRECTOR
“This is a great day for us because we have been going through a difficult patch so to come out of it with a win is fantastic. It is a credit to the team because they have remained determined throughout the problems and never lost their focus. On Colin’s side we have to keep this focus because he had some problems today and we want to bring both Yamahas to the top. We have work to do but we made up some important points in the championship today and this victory gives us even more motivation to continue in the same way at Istanbul.”