Phillip Island: another yellow flag for Valentino.
20 October 2003 | News
With his triumph at the Phillip Island race, Valentino Rossi scored his eighth win of the season (the fifth in the last six races) and his 21st consecutive appearance on the winner's stand despite a 10-second penalty for passing with the yellow flags raised.
In the lap following the disastrous spill suffered by hometown racer Troy Bayliss, Valentino Rossi blew past Melandri oblivious to the yellow flags up in the area and was promptly punished by the addition of 10 seconds to his time when he'd already built a 3 second lead over Capirossi who'd previously left his own closest followers far behind.
Knowing that he had to beat the second-place finisher by over 10 seconds, Valentino began grinding out faster laps one after another, thereby imposing a pace impossible to match in the second part of the race and finally coming in 15.2 seconds ahead of his closest competitor, compatriot Loris Capirossi.
Troy Bayliss, the other Ducati pilot, was carried off the track unconscious by helicopter to Melbourne, where medical tests fortunately revealed no serious damage.
With just one race left to go in the season, the first three places in the standings have by now been definitively assigned: Max Biaggi (who fell during the fourth lap and finished seventeenth) in third place behind the Spaniard Sete Gibernau.
In 250 competition, an outstanding Roberto Rolfo won hands down to shorten the distance behind season front-runner Manuel Poggiali, the ninth racer to the finish line.
The pilot from San Marino played his cards a bit too carefully and finished 1.22 seconds behind Rolfo the winner.
The reborn Fonsi Nieto won his challenge with DePuniet to step up to the third place on the winner's platform.
Elias, who came in at eleventh place, is now 27 points behind Poggiali and mathematically out of the competition for the title to be decided in the final race in Valencia, which promises to be a carefully calculated duel between our Manuel Poggiali and Turin's Roberto Rolfo.
In the absence of the new world champion, Dani Pedrosa, the 125 GP race was won by outsider Ballerini who finished first on a track in severely compromised conditions flooded by a violent rainstorm.
Second and third places went to Azuma and Jenkner respectively, while the outgoing world champion Vincent came in fifth.
Daniel Pedrosa, who underwent immediate surgery in Australia, will watch the season's final race in Valencia from the grandstand dreaming of the coming 2004 season.