The Italian splashed his way through several centimetres of standing water and lashings of torrential rain to clinch his fourth MotoGP win at Donington Park after a treacherous race that saw no fewer than eleven riders crash. Rossi didn’t get the best of starts as he dropped from pole position to seventh but fought his way back to the front by the fourth lap. A slight mistake at the midway point saw him lose ground on the lead group but two fast laps brought him back into contention. Another burst from the Italian seven laps from the end shaved over 2 seconds from the fastest lap of the race up to that point and left Kenny Roberts (Suzuki) and Alex Barros (Honda) trailing in his wake. Rossi’s Gauloises Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards joined in the battle for a top three finish but settled with fourth place at the end of the intense race, another solid points haul moving him up to third in the championship, just one point behind Marco Melandri (Honda), who crashed out of the race.
VALENTINO ROSSI (1st; 1’45.377)
“That was one of the most difficult races of my career – the conditions were incredible. It was very, very cold and the track was very slippery. At the beginning I was lucky because I made a mistake on the start and spun the tyre but after that I came back fast to the front. Biaggi crashed in front of me, then Gibernau… there were a lot of people making mistakes, also me, so I preferred to wait. Alex had a good rhythm so I stayed behind him but I made a mistake at the chicane when I was fighting with Kenny and locked the brakes. Today was not like riding a bike, it was like riding a boat because there was a lot of water between the wheels and the track – always spinning the rear and locking the front. I tried to understand the points where I could push more and said to myself: ‘Now I try and we see what happens!’ I was able to go a lot faster and keep the advantage. It was a great job by the team because the bike worked well even though we only had 20 minutes this morning to find the wet-weather set-up. Yesterday when I looked at my best lap time I thought it was like a symphony of violins – perfect, so I decided that if I won I would do this celebration across the finish line!”
COLIN EDWARDS (4th; + 10.292)
“After the warm-up I was a bit down because it wasn’t great. We made some changes to the spring settings but we weren’t really sure whether it was the right option. Anyway, I got out on the warm-up lap and the balance of the bike was awesome. The race was basically a case of survival. My start wasn’t as good as it might have looked and the pace felt really slow to start with, but then it picked up and it was a pretty eventful first few laps. Then the front locked when I was braking in a straight line and I almost ended up in the dirt! I caught up very quickly but about 12 laps from the end I had another scary moment and the bike spat me up out of my seat, so I thought about the situation and decided to wait and see what happened in front of me. Towards the end I was keeping an eye on Checa behind me because he was quite close. The points are really important; it’s great to have moved into third place and to be so close to Melandri. It wasn’t the result we wanted, but I’m really pleased with what we’ve achieved this weekend.”
DAVIDE BRIVIO – GAULOISES YAMAHA TEAM DIRECTOR
“Another special win! Every time Valentino races there is something special about it – today it was those two incredibly fast laps when he needed them at the end. All the way through he rode unbelievably well and it was amazing to watch. Colin also rode really well today and both riders scored important points for the championship. Now Colin is very close to second place so we hope to continue with the trend of having both riders at the front. A big thank you to the whole team, they are working really well together and it shows in our results.”