Vale climbs the podium with his flag while Sete Gibernau retreats behind his shades to wonder what he has to do to beat Rossi
A meaningful moment between Rossi and Hayden - quite clearly they are much closer than Rossi and Gibernau
Nicky Hayden celebrated his 24th birthday on Saturday and his sseemingly permanent elevation to the front of the field on Sunday. Ironically, the youngster Honda is nurturing to take Rossi's place is just two years younger than Rossi.
Hayden takes the first race holeshot with Rossi (far right), Barros (4), Capirossi (65), Edwards (5), Gibernau (15), Biaggi (3), Melandri (33), Roberts (obscured), Checa (obscured) and Hopkins (21) in close attendance
Gibernau looks so impressive when he's on it that it's hard to reconcile that he has not won a race for more than 12 months. here he applies a touch of opposite lock after riding past hayden 969), Rossi (directly behind Hayden) and Barros (yellow bike in
Valentino leads momentarily in the second race from Hayden and Barros
Compare this photo to the one on the previous page - it is taken just a split second after the image showing Hayden leading and the Proton KR of Shane Byrne can be seen on the ground.
Loris Capirossi was at the front of the field early in the race but faded badly to finish ninth
Hopkins was in serious pain thanks to a broken metatarsel in his foot before he crashed and knocked himself unconscious.
Max might be lost to MotoGP next year - it seems that when he's not winning, he's not exactly the most popular bloke in the paddock
Capirossi set one of the fastest laps of the race (1'23.708), but suffered from lack of grip and was eventually ninth
At the finish Nakano was just 4.5s seconds behind race winner Valentino Rossi, having closed the gap to Alex Barros (fifth) and Max Biaggi (fourth) to just over one second in the final laps.
Edwards, Melandri and Nakano lead Biaggi in a fight for the minor placings - Biaggi came through to score fourth place while nakano got sixth, Melandri seventh and Edwards slipped to eighth
Rossi's new secret weapon is much lighter and smaller than previous conventional MotoGP machinery. Aerodynamics have been enhanced with a much smaller frontal area.
A year to forget for Tamada - a former GP winner, he hasn't looked like a win this year with a best of seventh.
Somehow, despite just nine points in three races, Melandri is still second in the title chase - 120 points in arrears of Rossi with just seven races remaining. Rossi will most likely tie up the title in Japan - with five races to go.
He looks good, his eyes show a brave and true heart and he can ride past Rossi on a good day - he also vowed he would win a race prior to the end of this year after Sunday's race. Let's hope so, cos the last lap will be a ripper.
Mike Hailwood and another of the all-time greats, Phil read on the podium circa 1965. Compare the fashion of 40 years ago with the colourful livery of today
While some consider Hailwood to have been the best ever, statistically, there is no-one that can compare with Giacomo Agostini, seen here on the Yamaha 500. Rossi will need to win another 54 GPs to match Agostini's record.
August 2, 2005 Yamaha Motor and Valentino Rossi signed a contract extension yesterday, ensuring that Valentino will stay with Yamaha for the 2006 MotoGP World Championship. Rossi won the 2004 MotoGP World Championship with Yamaha and is currently competing in his second season with the Japanese manufacturer's factory team. The Italian leads the 2005 MotoGP World Championship by 120 points, following his 8th victory of the season at last weekend's German Grand Prix. Significantly, it was Rossi’s 76th Grand prix victory and moved the 26-year old into equal third place in the all-time victory list alongside the late Mike Hailwood. Rossi rode his victory lap with a flag that read, “Rossi 76, Hailwood 76, I'm sorry Mike,” in deference to Hailwood. Only the greats Angel Nieto (90) and Giacomo Agostini (122) remain for “The Doctor” to conquer should he be able to remain focused for that long given the constant enticements to move to four wheeled motorsport. That said, Rossi’s 76th win last weekend had all the hallmarks of Rossi magic.
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