Rossi gets even closer

September 24th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Rossi gets even closer

Reigning world champion Valentino Rossi has cut American Nicky Hayden's championship lead to just 12 points with two races remaining in 2006, after coming second behind fellow Italian Loris Capirossi in the Japanese MotoGP.

Rossi finished just over five seconds behind Capirossi, who won the race for a second year in a row, Capirossi prevailing in a time of 43 minutes and 13.585 seconds, with Australian MotoGP winner Marco Melandri in third position and Hayden fifth.

A week after finishing second at Phillip Island, Australian Chris Vermeulen claimed 11th place, almost 40 seconds behind Capirossi, while compatriot Casey Stoner failed to finish.

Other than an early challenge from Melandri, Capirossi was not challenged.

Local fans were disappointed on the last lap when Shinya Nakano, who was challenging Sete Gibernau for fourth place, crashed to enable Hayden to secure fifth position and prevent Rossi from further narrowing his championship lead.

Rossi trailed Hayden by 46 points after the Dutch MotoGP in June but has made up an impressive 34 points in the past five races.

With two races remaining on the calendar - in Portugal in three weeks and in Spain a fortnight later - Rossi is a strong chance of winning his sixth straight world title.

Results from the Japanese MotoGP
1. Loris Capirossi 43:13.585
2. Valentino Rossi 43:18.673
3. Marco Melandri 43:21.963
4. Sete Gibernau 43.23.297
5. Nicky Hayden 43:25.529
6. Toni Elias 43:31.693
7. Dani Pedrosa 43:33.522
8. Colin Edwards 43:36.077
9. Kenny Roberts Jr 43:40.409
10. Makoto Tamada 43:44.555
11. Chris Vermeulen 43:52.848
DNF Casey Stoner

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maaaaaan, as 30JUN gets closer..