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Evergreen Capirossi still has what it takes

Italian Loris Capirossi, starting from second in the grid on a Ducati, won the Czech MotoGP, the 12th leg of the world championship, in Brno on Sunday 16 years after his maiden victory in the 125cc category.

Capirossi took an early lead in the 22-lap race, at one point opening up a near-eight-second gap on the chasing pack, before easing over the finish line on his back wheel. It was his 27th grand prix win and comes 16 years after his maiden victory in 1990 at the British Grand Prix.

Rossi, who had started from pole position on a Yamaha, finished second to claim valuable points in his bid to claim an eighth world title and sixth in the king category of the sport, the MotoGP.

Spain’s Dani Pedrosa finished third, while American Nicky Hayden, the series leader, took ninth for his worst finish of the season so far.

In the overall standings, five races from the finale Hayden saw his lead on second-placed Pedrosa reduced to 25 points. Rossi is sitting third a further 13 points behind.

Capirossi put the win down to all the hard work he and his team had put in in practice. ”We tried to get the best out of the bike and it’s paid off. Today my machine performed faultlessly. On Saturday I’d worked out my race plan — to try and distance myself from my rivals as quickly as possible.”

Capirossi had a lightning start, taking the lead on the first bend ahead of Hayden and Rossi.

During the same lap Rossi then pulled ahead of the American and from then on it was downhill for Hayden who slowly crept back among the also-rans.

Seconds ahead of him Rossi met with his own difficulty in closing the gap on Capirossi, who seemed in a league of his own.

Pedrosa, meanwhile, had done well to creep up from ninth place on the grid to keep Rossi on his toes.

With Capirossi in front with a convincing lead, the main focus of the race came down to the battle for second between Rossi and Pedrosa.

But after a series of exchanges, it was Rossi who made the difference four laps from the finish, pulling slightly ahead of the Spaniard to claim the runner-up spot.

Rossi said he hadn’t been at his imperious best.

”I tried my hardest, of course, to win but Loris slipped the field early and I didn’t have the power to catch him. I didn’t get the best start ever and made numerous minor mistakes.”

In the 250cc race, Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo won on his Aprilia ahead of Italy’s Andrea Dovizioso of Honda and Japan’s Hiroshi Aoyama on a KTM to extend his lead in the overall world championship standings.

Another Spaniard, Alvaro Bautista, won the 125cc race — also on an Aprilia — ahead of Finland’s Mika Kallio, on a KTM, and Hungarian Gabor Talmacsi (Honda), to consolidate his position at the top of the championship. — Sapa-AFP

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