The tenth round of the 2005 campaign and Rossi’s 150th Grand Prix appearance in all was stopped after five laps when John Hopkins (Suzuki) crashed out and left his machine strewn in the middle of the circuit. By that time Rossi had made his way up to second place and when the race restarted he quickly began to pile the pressure on early race leader Nicky Hayden, taking the lead on the second lap. One lap later Gibernau passed both Hayden and Rossi, who was then relegated back to third place by the American on lap 13. The Italian mounted a typical late charge, passing Hayden and closing in on Gibernau during the closing stages of the race as he prepared an attack on the final lap. It proved unnecessary however, as a mistake from Gibernau in turn one handed the Italian his 76th Grand Prix victory, moving him third in the all-time Grand Prix winners list, level with Mike Hailwood. Whilst Rossi now leads the championship standings by 120 points over Marco Melandri (Honda), his Gauloises Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards finished a difficult weekend with eighth position in the race today, and drops to fourth overall behind Gibernau. The Texan nonetheless remains in close contention at the top end of the championship table, where four riders are separated by just four points.
VALENTINO ROSSI (1st – 35’04.434)
“It’s been a difficult weekend for sure. On Friday we arrived with a bad setting for this track and had some big problems. The team and Yamaha have done a fantastic job to recover from a bad situation and have worked step-by-step to resolve the issues. It was a hard race throughout, in some places we were fast and some slower, but the bike was working well after all the work we put in yesterday. At one point I lost second place to Nicky, but luckily I was able to take it back and then I prepared for a last lap battle with Sete. Then Sete made a small mistake at the first braking marker, which is an easy thing to do when you are racing at this speed, and I was able to take the lead. I don’t know if I would have won if he hadn’t made the mistake, but for sure I would have tried! I made a special flag to apologise to Mike Hailwood for matching his 76 wins in Grand Prix, because when another rider arrives at your level, it’s always disappointing! Mike is one of the greatest riders ever, and now I am beside him on the all-time winners podium in Grand Prix, which is a fantastic achievement!”
COLIN EDWARDS (8th – +14.849)
“We worked as hard as we could this weekend, but looking back over some of the decisions we’ve made, it seems like we should have tried something different. We just never made that big jump in performance that Valentino made, after we both had problems on Friday. For once my start – in fact both starts – were okay, but unfortunately the first one was the better of the two, which was the wrong way round! I really struggled in the race and I just couldn’t hold on to the leading group. Sections one, two and four were okay but I was losing three tenths of a second in section three, it’s only about 19 seconds through there but I really couldn’t afford to be losing that much time on nearly every lap. The good thing going away from here is that Sete, Max, Marco and I are still all within four points in the championship standings. I’ll come back after the break and do better in Brno.”
DAVIDE BRIVIO – GAULOISES YAMAHA TEAM DIRECTOR
“We won a race at the end of what has been a difficult weekend, so this is another great achievement. Now we go on holiday with an even stronger lead – after ten races we are leading all the categories: the rider, team and manufacturers’ championships. Also Colin remains close to the top of the championship. He is in good shape at the top of the table with all the best riders, despite not having such a good race today. Now everyone will take a well-deserved rest after the first half of the season, and let’s hope we can return in Brno and continue in the same way for the second half of the year.”