World champion Valentino Rossi, riding a Yahama, snatched his ninth victory of the season in the Czech motorcycling Grand Prix here on Sunday.
The six-time world champion led an Italian sweep to finish 1,837s ahead of Loris Capirossi on a Ducati with Max Biaggi third on his Honda at 3,444s.
Rossi started fourth on the grid but after a cat and mouse fight with pole sitter Sete Gibernau he overtook the Honda rider going into the final lap with the Spaniard forced out shortly afterwards with a mechanical problem.
Rossi has won nine of the 11 races so far in the 17-leg world championship series and needs just one more to wrap-up the 2005 championship, which he can achieve in Japan on September 18.
The Yamaha rider, who played second fiddle to Gibernau here last year, waited in the Spaniard’s shadow until the final lap before attacking.
He moved past Gibernau on the first turn and stayed ahead as the Spaniard’s misery continued when he started to lose speed and, within striking distance of the finish line, was forced out.
Rossi said: ”I saw how strong the riders were out there today, like Gibernau, [Alex] Barros and Biaggi and I knew it would be a tough fight.
”I tried to pull away and find rythym and I can say I am happy with my start and my finish.”
Rossi now has a 132-point advantage on Biaggi with Italian Marco Melandri, who finished sixth, a further three points behind.
Meanwhile in the 250cc arena, Spanish Honda rider Daniel Pedrosa extended his world championship lead over Australian Casey Stoner by securing his sixth win of the year.
Pedrosa finished ahead of compatriot Jorge Lorenzo on a Honda and Stoner of Aprilia.
Honda rider Thomas Luthi of Switzerland won the 125cc category after successfully negotiating the circuit made slippery by rain to finish ahead of Finland’s Mika Kallio, on a KTM, and Italy’s Marco Simoncelli of Aprilia. – Sapa-AFP