BRNO (Czech Republic): World champion Valentino Rossi snapped a four-race losing streak when he grabbed victory on the final lap in the Czech Grand Prix, the 10th round of the 16-race world motorcycling championship, here yesterday.
Starting from pole position the Italian Honda rider came in narrowly ahead of Spanish title rival Sete Gibernau, with Australian Troy Bayliss of Ducati in third.
I really had a fantastic finish to the race, said Rossi, who extended his lead in the world championship standings.
The victory ends Rossis worst winning drought in three years after losing the last four races. Gibernau had made the most of a rare slip by Rossi to take victory in the German Grand Prix on July 27.
Gibernau paid tribute to the Italians skill.
Every race this year seems to get better and better, said the Spaniard.
Valentino made a little mistake and I passed him and then I made the mistake and he got back. He deserves this win. He was the best. But Ill get him next time, warned Gibernau who is 34 points behind the Italian leader.
Former world superbike champion Bayliss had gotten off to a flying start, holding the lead for the first ten laps despite repeted attacks from Rossi, who broke through on the 11th.
Gibernau took the lead two laps later with a neat overtaking move on the inside of both the Australian and the Italian.
Bayliss again took control in the 15th before giving way to Rossi, whose errors four laps later gave the advantage to Gibernau, before the Italian nipped past in the final lap.
Bayliss, who was also third in Germany last month, believes his inexperience told.
I was very close to the front. I got off to a good start and felt comfortable, but to go to the next level was difficult, said the Australian.
Earlier French rider Randy de Puniet won the 250cc category ahead of Aprilia teammates Toni Elias of Spain and world championship leader Manuel Poggiali of San Marino, for his second win of the season. AFP