Rossi though appeared to be struggling to pass Jacque and followed the Frenchman around the 3.704km track – and the Honda hero even fell victim to Capirossi as a aresult, who was really on a charge and duly overtook Jacque in the same spot the Italian had clashed with Criville yesterday.
The Nastro Azzurro rider found his was past the Gauloises Tect 3 machine at the end of lap eight, but by then Capirossi had overtaken Roberts for sixth, while at the front Abe was pressuring Checa for second as Nakano began setting the fastest laps of the race (in fifth).
The #1 Suzuki fell victim to the 22-year-old Italian on the very next lap, and Rossi now needed to close a 6.3second gap – and six places - to Biaggi. But Biaggi's main concern at that moment was Norick Abe, the Japanese rider having overtaken his teammate Checa.
However, Capirossi, who had looked so impressive in the early stages, was now under pressure from Rossi, who duly sliced inside his countryman for sixth just before the mid point of the race, instead of resisting Capirossi wisely tagged on to the back of the bright yellow Honda.
Up front Biaggi was responding with fastest ever laps, resulting in him building a 1.4 second lead over Abe, and increasing the gap back to Rossi to over seven seconds, as the #46 rider set about attacking Barros' black and white Honda Pons machine.
Also on the move was Shinya Nakano
who was three seconds in front of Barros and closing quickly on Carlos Checa for third, who responded by upping his pace and overtaking Abe, leaving the two Japanese riders to fight for the final podium place.
Lap 24 and Rossi was still tangled up in battle with the West Honda Pons machines – and Olivier Jacque, who had joined the three way battle between Capirossi, Barros and Rossi.
Ahead of this battle was the lead group of Biaggi, Checa, Abe and Nakano, with the Roman now three seconds ahead of his teammate and pacing his way to the finish.
However, the battle of the race was that for fifth, and while Barros led the way Jacque was showing all of his old form to hold off Capirossi and Rossi, heading into the final two laps.
Soon after Tohru Ukawa fell from heavily his Repsol Honda – and was lying worrying still, before being strechered away for medical treatment.