Valentino Rossi scorched to his fifth GP victory at Jerez yesterday, in front of 128,000 fanatical fans, and in doing so increased his championship lead to 14 points over rival Max Biaggi, some 6.3 seconds behind the Repsol rider in second on Sunday.

Rossi, fastest in the morning warm-up, started from the second row of the grid and by the second corner was lying in ninth position, but the reigning MotoGP World Champion then scythed his way through the field with some sensational sideways antics to take the lead from Capirossi on lap four.

The #46 then set the fastest lap on lap five - a new record of 1min 42.788secs - on his way to GP victory number 52 and now lies fifth equal with Phil Read in the all time GP record tables.

"I'm happy with the win. Racing at this track is always a dream for a rider to perform in front of so many people. It's fantastic," beamed Valentino. "The biggest problem for everyone was traction and during the practice we worked hard on race set-up so that we could control the bike under spinning conditions.

"At the start I lost time - I went wide to avoid a rider. Then I saw Gibernau and Capirossi going away and I didn't want the same thing as South Africa so I pushed hard," he added. "I overtook four or five riders and arrived behind Capirossi. I was a little bit faster and it was possible to pull away. 25 points is very important for me."



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