Rossi squeezed ahead through the left hand turn two on lap 24, with Barros trying to follow suite past the Roman a few corners later, but Biaggi held firm and Barros was forced to back off after clipping the rear wheel of the Marlboro Yamaha.
All this allowed Rossi some breathing room up front, but Biaggi was soon closing on his countryman and the two enjoyed a 0.5sec advantage over third placed man Jacque with two laps to go.
Biaggi used the slipstream to surge clear along the front straight on the penultimate lap, leaving Rossi to decide just how badly he wanted the win with the title in sight.
The last lap began with Capirossi in third, behind Rossi and Biaggi, but Vale looked to be less 'desperate' than on a normal last lap – but then the Honda hero out braked Biaggi into the hairpin and despite the Roman tucking behind the #46 on the run to the flag for a photo finish the clocks showed that Rossi had won by just 0.013secs, with Capirossi completing yet another all-Italian podium.
Rossi was visibly relieved after clinching the title and following his full repertoire of slow down lap 'extravagances' he stopped to greet members of his Nastro Azzurro team and put on a celebratory T-shirt, before returning to the pits where he was congratulated by almost all the pit lane.
Full results to follow…
2. Biaggi +0.013secs
3. Capirossi +0.581secs
4. Barros +0.714secs
5. Ukawa +1.288secs
6. Jacque +2.534secs
7. Nakano +2.579secs
8. Haga +2.582secs