Mon, Sep 25, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Capirossi triumphs in Japan MotoGP

FORZA ITALIA Valentino Rossi also had cause to celebrate yesterday as he pulled to within 12 points of the top of the overall MotoGP standings after his second place finish


Italy's Loris Capirossi, right, and his wife Ingrid celebrate with supporters after winning the MotoGP of Japan at the Motegi circuit, north of Tokyo, yesterday.


Loris Capirossi won his second straight MotoGP race at Motegi and Valentino Rossi picked up some valuable points yesterday at the Grand Prix of Japan.

Capirossi, who started from pole position, led from start to finish on a Ducati to capture his third MotoGP win of the season and second title in as many years at the 4.8km Motegi circuit.

But it was reigning world champion Rossi who made the biggest gains yesterday.

Rossi overtook compatriot Marco Melandri on the 14th lap to finish second and pull within 12 points of American Nicky Hayden in the overall MotoGP standings with two races left.

Capirossi finished the 24-lap race with a time of 43 minutes, 13.585 seconds, 5.088 seconds ahead of Rossi. Melandri, who won last week's Australian Grand Prix, had a time of 43:21.963 to complete an Italian sweep of the podium.

"It was an amazing race today," Capirossi said. "I tried to get a good start. Marco stayed close and then Valentino was coming so I had to push hard till the end. It's the second time to win here and it's a great feeling."

It could have been worse for Hayden.

Japan's Shinya Nakano crashed on the final lap, allowing Hayden to finish fifth instead of sixth. Hayden leads the standings with 239 points but Rossi now has 224.

"The points I picked up today are very important for the championship," said Yamaha's Rossi, who earned 20 points for finishing second. "This isn't my favorite track but everyone did a good job of getting the bike ready and I'm pleased with the result."

It was another strong finish for Melandri, who is in third place on the standings with 209 points and still has an outside chance at the championship.

"I tried to take overtake Loris but started to slide after the 10th lap," Melandr said. "I almost went down and Valentino passed me but I'm still happy with the result."

Earlier, local favorite Hiroshi Aoyama won the 250cc race, crossing the finish line ahead of Alex De Angelis of San Marino.

Aoyama, riding a KTM, clocked a time of 43 minutes, 36.310 seconds to finish 1.341 seconds ahead of De Angelis on an Aprilia.

Jorge Lorenzo of Spain finished third on an Aprilia with a time of 43:40.65.

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