Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Superb Rossi Heads for Fourth World Title

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Superb Rossi Heads for Fourth World Title

Article excerpt

Byline: By Alastair Moffitt

Valentino Rossi moved a step nearer his fourth world championship title with a dominant victory in the Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril yesterday.

The Gauloises Yamaha rider was the class act of the field and won comfortably from Camel Honda's Makoto Tamada after leading every lap of the race.

Tamada, who started from pole position, took full advantage when team-mate Max Biaggi and Marlboro Ducati's Loris Capirossi clashed.

Biaggi tried to overtake Capirossi on lap one, but he rammed the Ducati's back wheel and crashed into retirement.

Capirossi dropped to the back of the field but recovered superbly to finish seventh.

Tamada, who won for the first time in Brazil earlier this season, admitted he could do little about Rossi.

He said: "I tried to catch him but it was too hard. I am happy with second though."

Repsol Honda's Alex Barros took a deserved place on the podium with third, after holding off the Telefonica Movistar Honda of Sete Gibernau, whose fourth place drops him 29 points behind Rossi in the title race.

Barros was relieved to hold off the charging Gibernau, who managed to get alongside but never past him.

"Sete gave me a lot of pressure but I did not make a mistake," said Barros.

Fortuna Yamaha's Carlos Checa finished fifth, while John Hopkins scored a top-six finish for Suzuki.

Neil Hodgson had been the fastest Briton on track yesterday, but he was forced to retire after a fuel hose split on his D'Antin Ducati and doused him with petrol.

In his panic to pull off the track and get clear of his machine before a fire started, Hodgson nearly took Ulsterman Jeremy McWilliams out of the race.

But the Aprilia rider managed to avoid his fellow Briton and continued to finish 12th.

James Ellison was one place short of his first MotoGP points in just his second race after a respectable effort for Harris WCM saw him finish 16th. …

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