Valentino Rossi will head for his summer holiday a happy man after winning his eighth race from ten 2005 starts in today's German Grand Prix at Sachsenring; the Yamaha superstar benefiting from a costly last lap error from Sete Gibernau
to rule a five-man lead pack containing four Hondas.
Qualifying had seen Nicky Hayden
celebrate his 24th birthday in style, the US GP winner taking pole position by 0.101secs from Gibernau with Alex Barros
making it an all RCV front row - the first since Motegi 2003 - despite suffering his third fall in two days.
Meanwhile, runaway MotoGP world championship leader Rossi had recovered from a tricky opening day to clinch a second row start in fourth place, where he would be joined by fellow Italians Marco Melandri
and Max Biaggi, while just 0.5secs covered the top nine riders.
A sunny morning warm-up had then ended with Melandri, Checa and Capirossi all within 0.097secs at the top, while pole sitter Hayden took a trip through the gravel on his way to seventh - with Barros, Gibernau and Rossi separating the Repsol Honda from the #65 Ducati.
When the red lights went out at the earlier time of 12.30 (to again avoid a clash with Formula One), Hayden converted his pole into a turn one lead, with a four man group of the American, Rossi, Barros and Gibernau soon breaking away up front.
But it would all come to a premature end on lap 6 when a nasty highside for Suzuki's John Hopkins
left the already injured Anglo-American lying in the middle of the racetrack - forcing the race to be stopped.
The 12th placed rider had been flicked violently over the top of his GSV-R before landing heavily on his back. The 22-year-old already had a broken bone in his foot plus a multitude of chest and upper body injuries from his Friday highside and needed medical assistance to be removed from the circuit, hence the need for the red flags.
After a few minutes, Hopkins was fortunately back at the Suzuki pits and the smiling, but limping, Anglo-American could have legally taken part in the restart - although that was soon, correctly, ruled out by his medical advisors.
Also absent from the restart, which would be run over 25 instead of 30 laps, were Team Roberts rider Shane Byrne, plus the Kawasakis of Olivier Jacque and Alex Hoffman - who had all fallen at turn one... the two green machines taking each other out, while Byrne fell after clipping Checa.