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Rossi snatches third from Hayden

“It was a good, hard battle" - Nicky Hayden.
For the second time in three races Valentino Rossi was involved in a thrilling battle for third place in the closing stages of a MotoGP race.

Again it involved some close moves and again it was against a team-mate. Well, a 2011 team-mate this time - Ducati's Nicky Hayden.

Recovering from a his second bad start in a row, which meant he lost a place from eighth on the grid, Rossi had brushed shoulder's with the American on his way past early in Sunday's Australian Grand prix

At the time the pair were fighting for fifth, but they had both moved past Marco Simoncelli and Ben Spies by lap 9 of 27.

Rossi and Hayden then pulled away from the rookies and as the race went on momentum seemed to switch back to Hayden, who was looking ever more threatening in Rossi's wheel tracks.

Hayden made his move on lap 25, passing Rossi into the Honda Hairpin.

But Rossi stuck with the 2006 world champion and launched a tight block-pass at the very same corner on the last lap.

It worked and Rossi snatched third, building his run of successive Phillip Island podiums to 13.

But most importantly, the fans got to see some racing near the front of the field.

First and second places, Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo, were unchanged from lap 1 to the chequered flag.

Home winner Stoner finished over eight seconds ahead of Lorenzo, who was in turn almost ten seconds in front of Rossi and Hayden.

"Today Casey was riding in a different sport and I want to say congratulations to him - the podium was the maximum for us but it was still a hard fight to get there," said Rossi.

"I had great fun with Nicky at the end because in some places he was faster than me and I really had to push, but the podium here is so important for me and I couldn't give it up easily.

"This is my 13th podium in 14 years racing at Phillip Island and I am very proud of this record. We have had three podiums in a row, including one win, and after this difficult season I am happy about this."

Hayden was left with the bitter taste of a last lap podium loss for the second time this season - Ben Spies passing him for third at Silverstone.

But unlike Lorenzo at Motegi, the former dirt tracker had no complaints about Rossi's overtaking.

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Oli - Unregistered

October 18, 2010 12:42 PM

Nicky is one of these guys that is always going to divide opinion. When your teammate wins the race and you're not even in the same post code there are bound to be critics. But then Nicky's teammate is Casey Stoner and it's at Phillip Island. No one in the world got near Stoner. Depends how you look at it. But what gives Nicky his fans is that he makes no excuses, he never gives up and whilst he may not be an alien, the guy is still top draw. A MotoGP world champ who can take Rossi to the last lap gets my respect any day. He and Melandri started out the same at Ducati. Nicky's grit and determination compared to Melandri's moaning and excuses tell you why one is back fighting for podiums and the other is WSB bound.....

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