Rossi Kicks Assen - June 26th 2004
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- MotoGP : Rossi kicks Assen
- Round: 6 - Assen TT
- Circuit: Assen
- Date: 26 June 2004
- Crowd: 90322
- Temp: 19ºC
- Weather: Dry
Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha rider and reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi once more demonstrated his full repertoire of racecraft by winning his third race in a row, after a last lap of epic skill and determination. A further showing of the significant improvements made to the YZR-M1 were evident when Fortuna Gauloises Yamaha Tech 3 pilot Marco Melandri also secured his second consecutive podium result - taking third behind second place rider Sete Gibernau (Honda). Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha rider Carlos Checa, who started brightly, slipped down the order to finish ninth, fighting against a lack of rear traction.
Rossi was involved in a race-long contest with Gibernau. With the others unable to match their lap record breaking pace, they eventually left a nine-second gap back to Melandri at the flag. Rossi's desire to win his third race in a row, and his fourth of the year, saw him set the new lap record on lap 18 of the 19, with a time of 1'59.472s. That lap brought him close enough to dive inside Gibernau on the brakes at turn 12. The pair made contact into the following right-hander as Rossi almost lost the front, leaving the chasing Gibernau nowhere to go and nursing a broken front mudguard.
Melandri, who had surgery on his arm just ten days ago, was expected to miss the Assen TT and wait for Rio, next weekend - but the young Italian had other ideas. A change in set-up this morning by his crew gave him a bike he could really work with and as a result his latest performance lifts him to fifth in the World Championship points standings.
Rossi's latest win puts both he and Gibernau on 126 points, although Rossi leads due to his better win ratio - four to two. Checa's points for ninth were enough to keep him fourth in the championship. The Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Team now leads the teams' championship, and Yamaha also leads the manufacturers' table after the latest successes.
Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha)
"I stayed quite easily behind Sete at the start but after the tyres started sliding it was not so easy. There were points where I was a little bit faster and it made for a great, great battle. I lost a bit of time with Barros, and with two or three laps to go I made a mistake in the long straight after my foot slipped off the peg, and Sete went away. I tried to not give up and made a very good time before the last lap and had a hard battle of braking with Sete as I tried to overtake. After I got by him, at the next corner I almost lost the front and I thought I would crash. It was a fantastic race for everybody. I think Sete will be a little bit angry but it was a great race between us."
Carlos Checa (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha)
"I didn't get rear traction, stability or grip. When I opened the throttle I did not have any contact. That was the main problem. At the beginning I was able to follow a little bit but after three or four laps I started losing more and more. I changed my riding style but I was not able to fight with the other riders. We need to consider this problem and try to fix it for the next race in Rio. We need to work in that area of rear grip because that was our limitation today. I maintained fourth in the championship but we need to work because I want to fight for the podiums, stay in front and I thought here we would have a good chance. Rio should be a good track for us and we have to see if we are able to make it work well there. We should be okay."
Davide Brivio, Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha team director "Another victory for us and Valentino makes every one different. This time it was a great overtake from him on the last lap. Each time is something new, a new emotion. Here we are with four wins in six races, we now share the points lead with Gibernau, but we lead the constructors' and team's classifications, which is great for everyone in this project, because we really put in all our effort and energy for this. Unfortunately we could not continue that success with Carlos, who had some problems with the settings. We have to work even harder to put Carlos back on the podium soon."
Marco Melandri (Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3)
"I said yes - go to Holland and ride my bike. But some people said it was impossible to do this race. I thought I could maybe fight for sixth or seventh but the team did such good work on a set-up, which was new for the race, that it made all the difference. The bike was a little bit nervous at first but then I got used to it. I pushed hard and made a mistake but I was faster than Carlos and then faster than Max and I thought my arm was okay so maybe I thought 'go faster' and despite this my arm was still okay."
Norick Abe (Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3)
"Yesterday and on Thursday I didn't have such good feeling on the bike, but we made a big jump in the settings and the bike was way better than in qualifying, but not quite good enough. The other Yamahas are so good and seem to have a good base setting, but we are trying all we can."
Hervé Poncharal, Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3 team director
"We're getting used to this. An incredible day and we didn't expect a result like this until maybe Rio. We weren't even sure if Marco would race. We were a bit worried about him, but he never complained. He didn't push too hard to start with, but as the race went on he got stronger. And even though he made a small mistake at the chicane and had to work hard again he passed Max. To beat him shows that Marco is something special. I must say thanks to Yamaha and the team for a great performance."
Race classification MotoGP
- Round: 6 - Assen TT
- Circuit: Assen
- Circuit Length: 6027
- Lap Record: 1' 59.472 (Valentino Rossi, 2004)
- Fastest Lap Ever: 1' 58.758 (Valentino Rossi, 2004)
Race: 19 Laps
- 1, V. Rossi, Yamaha - ITA: 38' 11.831
- 2, S. Gibernau, Honda - ESP: +0.456
- 3, M. Melandri, Yamaha - ITA: +9.909
- 4, M. Biaggi, Honda - ITA: +10.183
- 5, N. Hayden, Honda - USA: +10.300
- 6, C. Edwards, Honda - USA: +10.801
- 7, R. Xaus, Ducati - ESP: +13.705
- 8, L. Capirossi, Ducati - ITA: +14.091
- 9, C. Checa, Yamaha - ESP: +15.159
- 10, N. Hodgson, Ducati - GBR: +34.066
- 11, N. Abe, Yamaha - JPN: +34.414
- 12, M. Tamada, Honda - JPN: +39.186
- 13, A. Hofman, Kawasaki - GER: +41.506
- 14, J. Hopkins, Suzuki - USA: +54.569
- 15, J. McWilliams, Aprilia - GBR: +1' 4.761
Fastest Race Lap:
- 1, V. Rossi, Yamaha - ITA: 1' 59.472
Championship standings MotoGP
- 1, Valentino Rossi, Yamaha - ITA: 126
- 2, Sete Gibernau, Honda - ESP: 126
- 3, Max Biaggi, Honda - ITA: 93
- 4, Carlos Checa, Yamaha - ESP: 56
- 5, Marco Melandri, Yamaha - ITA: 54
- 6, Colin Edwards, Honda - USA: 54
- 7, Alex Barros, Honda - BRA: 48
- 8, Loris Capirossi, Ducati - ITA: 42
- 9, Nicky Hayden, Honda - USA: 38
- 10, Norick Abe, Yamaha - JPN: 33
- 11, Ruben Xaus, Ducati - ESP: 32
- 12, Troy Bayliss, Ducati - AUS: 23
- 13, Shinya Nakano, Kawasaki - JPN: 20
- 14, Makato Tamada, Honda - JPN: 19
- 15, Neil Hodgson, Ducati - GBR 15
Manufacturers standings MotoGP
- 1, Yamaha 133
- 2, Honda 130
- 3, Ducati 54
- 4, Kawasaki 25
- 5, Suzuki 17
- 6, Aprilia 14
- 7, Harris WCM 7
- 8, Proton KR 7
- 9, Moriwaki 2
This article and pictures were kindly provided by www.yamaha-racing.com