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GP Week : Issue 1
39 M oto GP QATAR >> For a moment I thought I’d jumped the start,” he said, adding the pain had made the later laps hard. The battle for fourth gained a savage momentum in the closing stages, after Pedrosa got back ahead of Rossi on lap 14. The Italian superstar was clearly struggling, as ex- 250 rider Andrea Dovizioso (Team Scot Honda) and new boy James Toseland (Tech 3 Yamaha) pushed and probed behind him. “I had good grip in the beginning, but already after two or three laps I lacked grip on the rear,” said Rossi. It came to a head on the final lap. Dovizioso had already passed him once, to be promptly repulsed. Now he attacked again. Rossi fought back, but Dovizioso had the scent of blood, and his next attack was successful. Over the last three corners, Rossi could do nothing about it. And any further slip would certainly have let Toseland past him as well. They crossed the line covered by less than a second. Colin Edwards was seventh, re-closing on this group at the end. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) was a long way back, fending off Randy de Puniet’s Kawasaki for eighth; Nicky Hayden was a disgruntled 10th. “It wasn’t pretty,” he said. Marco Melandri concluded a dreadful Marlboro Ducati debut with a distant 11th; John Hopkins (Kawasaki) dropped back to 12th after a strong start, troubled with sliding tyres and his still- painful groin injury. Shinya Nakano (San Carlo Honda) was right behind him, Alice Ducati first-timer Toni Elias next, fending off his team-mate Sylvain Guintoli, who took the last point. None of these were ever in the hunt. Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki) was a lap down after pitting to change his front tyre; Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda) crashed out of his midfield battle with six laps to go.