12 October 2003
Vale takes victory and fifth world title.
Ultimately, Gibernau would never trouble Rossi and the Italian looked as dominating as ever as he completed his final lap as a double premier-class champion. He would become a triple MotoGP class king two-minutes later, but crossed the line without any visible celebrations...
However, he had a plan. The Doctor braked hard and pulled tight up against the pit wall, stopping right alongside his Repsol team, before dismounting to climb the pit wall and celebrate with his championship winning crew – some, if not all, he may start the 2004 season without if rumours are to be believed.
Rossi then returned to his overheating RCV to complete the lap – well almost complete the lap... his fan club were waiting at the back of the circuit in the famous Brno prison outfits, and he duly stopped to celebrate with them, collect a special championship winning t-shirt, a flag (with a '5' over the 46) and even a new helmet (a black and white chequered flag type design, with five stars, over his usual yellow).
The podium that followed was equally eye-catching with Gibernau, and arch-rival Biaggi, both sportingly showing no sign of personal disappointment as they attempted to drown the 24-year-old in champagne in front of the 'Vale – Vale' chanting crowd assembled beneath.
Almost missed in the celebrations was that Hayden mugged Checa for fourth on the last lap, while Capirossi rode a lonely race to sixth ahead of Ukawa, Nakano, Bayliss and the unusually 'quiet' Tamada – the Japanese never recovering from a poor start.
The fast starting Haga gave his hopes of a 2004 ride a boost by beating team-mate Edwards, while Suzuki rider Roberts faded from tenth on the grid to fourteenth at the flag. Barros rode an impressive comeback to take the final point, while Pitt was top Kawasaki in 16th, one place ahead of McWilliams.
Full results to follow...
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