Rossi one step away from the title after Brno victory

Valentino Rossi edged ever closer to the 2005 MotoGP World Championship title after taking his ninth victory from eleven rounds in the Gauloises Grand Prix Ceske republiky today. The Italian overcame another brave resistance from Sete Gibernau that lasted just short of the 22-lap distance at Brno, the Spaniard suffering from a technical problem just three corners from the finish line and losing any slim hopes he had of reacting to a pass from Rossi at the end of the penultimate lap. For Rossi the victory represented a record-breaking achievement as he became the first rider in the history of the series to win nine races for five consecutive seasons.

"That was one of the hardest races of the season," reflected Rossi. "After the warm-up I saw Sete's time and I wasn't very confident that I could beat him. There were a lot of fast riders out there but Gibernau was my hardest opponent so I tried to push him and put the pressure on. Sincerely it was a great fight with a lot of overtaking and in the middle of the race I decided to try and go but Sete came back. At the end I did three or four good laps, made the pass on Sete and then did a perfect final lap. Unfortunately Sete had a problem, which was bad luck for him because he should have been on the podium. Anyway this is a good win for me and now I just need one more for the title but it is not over yet."

Loris Capirossi benefited from Gibernau's misfortune as he collected his second podium of the season on the Ducati after a sterling second half to the race that saw the Italian mount an electric charge from sixth place. Capirossi's performance was marginally overshadowed by that of his compatriot Max Biaggi, who completed an all-Italian podium in third place after starting from tenth on the grid.

It was a doubly satisfying recovery for Biaggi as he moved up to second in the championship for the first time this season, edging out Marco Melandri after the youngster dropped down the order in the second half of the race. Melandri had made an excellent start, lapping in third place for the opening three laps behind Rossi and Gibernau before becoming involved in an entertaining skirmish with Nicky Hayden. The young Honda pair paid for their early endeavours as the experienced trio of Capirossi, Biaggi and then Alex Barros came past.

Gibernau's retirement effectively promoted Colin Edwards to seventh place after another disappointing race for the American, who finished ahead of Carlos Checa, Troy Bayliss and Makoto Tamada. Kenny Roberts recovered from a bout of illness last night to clinch eleventh place ahead of his team-mate John Hopkins, with Toni Elías and Alex Hofmann completing the points.

Dani Pedrosa extended his advantage at the top of the 250cc World Championship to 59 points after clinching his sixth victory of the season with an impeccable performance. Pedrosa hung at the back of the front group for much of the race as Hiroshi Aoyama and Jorge Lorenzo battled for the lead, making his move at the halfway stage and gradually edging to the front. A brief battle with Lorenzo ensued as Aoyama lost several places but Pedrosa stepped up the pace on the final two laps to leave his fellow Spaniard trailing. Casey Stoner fought off Alex de Angelis to complete the podium and distance himself in second place in the championship from Andrea Dovizioso, who was sixth.

Thomas Lüthi took his second victory of the season to extend his points advantage at the top of the 125cc World Championship to nine over Mika Kallio. Lüthi made his break from a combative lead group with just two laps remaining, Mattia Pasini then crashing out as he led the chase behind the Swiss youngster. Marco Simoncelli consequently moved up to second place but he lost out to Kallio after a crafty move from the Finnish rider in the final corner.


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