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Capirossi's Brno show
20 August 2006
Ducati maestro Loris Capirossi dominated Sunday's Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno, leading every inch of the 22 laps to crush the opposition into submission right from the word go.
Obviously incensed at losing out on pole position to Valentino Rossi on Saturday, Capirossi put in a performance that drew congratulations from 'The Doctor' himself as he opened a one second gap on the first tour of the 5.4-kilometre Brno circuit while the rest sorted themselves out and never looked back.
Consistently pulling out a couple of tenths every lap Capirossi was the only rider capable of lapping in the 1 min 58 secs bracket and had built up an eight second lead before easing off considerably on the final lap to eventually cross the line four seconds ahead of his nearest competition.
Riding with supreme confidence throughout, Capirossi's second win of the 2006 campaign was arguably sweeter than his season-opening win in Jerez considering the injuries he sustained on the opening lap in Barcelona five races ago. With five races remaining this season and a deficit of 50 points to championship leader Nicky Hayden, few would risk counting Loris out of the title chase based on Sunday's performance.
While Capirossi's master class at the head of the field meant that the battle for victory was a non-event, the race was by no means dull behind the red #65 machine.
Pole sitter Rossi and Dani Pedrosa had emerged from a ten bike battle for second place to run a clear second and third for the balance of the race. In an eagerly awaited duel neither rider disappointed with Pedrosa discovering just how ruthless Rossi can be when he saw several passing attempts blocked at the very last minute.
Pedrosa also discovered how difficult Rossi is to keep behind him for after making two sensational moves in the two uphill chicanes Pedrosa found Rossi retaking the position immediately after on both occasions.
Rossi's lap 18 turn one move seemed to break Pedrosa's challenge slightly and by the time the chequered flag waved Rossi was four seconds to the good over the young Spaniard, who undoubtedly learned many more valuable lessons during the course of their battle.
The fight for fourth place also went down to the last lap with Kenny Roberts holding off a train of six bikes all the way back to Colin Edwards in tenth place.
From the front row of the grid Roberts initially slid backwards in the early stages, swamped by a plethora of fast-starting Hondas but as the race wore on he was able to pick his way past a struggling Hayden, Marco Melandri and Casey Stoner to regain fourth spot on the final corner of the 18th lap.
The 2000 World Champion then kept the Honda swarm at bay over the final couple of tours to cross the line two tenths of a second clear of Melandri with Stoner a further half second back in sixth and Suzuki's John Hopkins taking advantage of a last lap banging match between Hayden and the Kawasaki of Shinya Nakano to take seventh.
Hayden's worst race of the year was completed when Nakano got the better of him for eighth place on the final corner although with Capirossi and Rossi claiming the top two spots, Pedrosa only gained nine points on his fellow Repsol Honda rider in the overall standings to minimise the damage. With five races remaining Hayden leads Pedrosa by 25 points with Rossi 38 back, Melandri 40 back and Capirossi 50 in arrears.
Rossi's teammate Edwards ran as high as fifth in the early stages but slipped back during the mid portion of the race and found himself struggling to stay on the rear of the fourth place battle during the closing laps.
Toni Elias finished eleventh, leading home another close battle between himself, Chris Vermeulen and Makoto Tamada while Randy De Puniet on the second Kawasaki just held off Carlos Checa for 14th spot.
Alex Hofmann just missed out on a point on the second factory Ducati with James Ellison and Ivan Silva completing the list of finishers.
Jose Luis Cardoso was the only one of the 19 starters not to make the finish, pulling in with mechanical bothers after half a dozen laps and while critics may point to a low bike count in the MotoGP class at present, on Sunday's form 19 bikes is more than enough to keep everyone entertained.
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