QATAR: RAGE AND RELIEF FOR VALENTINO
03 October 2004 | News
Valentino left Qatar with two contrasting emotions burning in his chest: no little anger for the penalty he received and the heated discussions about regulations to set things straight with both Honda and his rival for the title, Sete Gibernau, on one hand, and relief for not breaking any bones after a fall to the ground at 200 kph that could have easily knocked him out of the battle for the title for good.
Forced to start from the last row (together with Max Biaggi) after being penalised for having “cleaned up” his box at the starting gate, Valentino made another of his incredible comebacks that brought him from last to fourth place in just a few laps before committing the tragic error that brought him flying to the asphalt.
Fortunately for Val and this year's racing season, his "nosedive” - an endless slide on the brand-new and abrasive Losail track - only caused a slight contusion (to his pinky!) and a cut that required a stitch.
For the past few races, in fact, Doctor Val has been wearing new Speed Metal gloves, which thanks to their special protection rose to the occasion and limited the consequences of a dangerous accident. The innovative titanium pads protected the back of the hand, while the carbon protection helped the glove's leather withstand the high abrasion force and reduced the degree of injury.
Safe and sound, the unfortunate race on Saturday now just another one for the books, Doctor Rossi is in good shape to mount his M1 again for the GP race in Sepang, Malaysia, where he'll have to hold on hard to his 14 lead over Gibernau and hopefully even increase the gap.
Max Biaggi, the other unfortunately penalised "street-cleaner" also suffered no little on the new Doha track all weekend before turning in a sixth-place finish that at least helps him hang on to his 3rd place ranking.
Daniel Pedrosa's 2nd place finish in 250 Class brings him one step closer to the world title: the Spanish racer now vaunts 254 points, 43 more than Argentine Porto and 67 than Frenchman De Puniet with just three races to run. Making a slow but steady comeback, Fonsi Nieto finished fifth.
Lorenzo won the 125 Class race over Dovizioso, who also looks likely to win the world crown in his division.