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2003 SBK Superbike
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The most colorful Grand Prix rider ever, particularly now with his new red hair, Rossi clowns on the podium at Bruno wearing a prisoner's cap and ball & chain, together with Gibernau and Bayliss.

Czech MotoGP at Bruno, Round 10

War of the Titans at Bruno
Superbike World Champions Bayliss / Ducati fights Grand Prix champs Rossi / Honda amid a classic 4-way race-long battle in the Czech Republic

Bruno, CZ, Raceday Sunday August 17th: Valentino Rossi (Repsol Honda RC211V) had to ride at lap record pace to secure the win in a breathtaking Brno GP, and kept his absolute fastest lap for the very last. His new record of 1:59.966 even involved passing another rider, his race long companion and rival Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V). Troy Bayliss (Ducati) was third after leading for the first ten laps, ending his race only 0.668 seconds behind Rossi.

It was a race that will go down in MotoGP history as one of the most exciting and competitive ever in a season that itself has been more than extrodinary. The entire 23 lap race was a 4-way battle for the lead between the 2 factory Ducatis of Troy Bayliss and Loris Capirossi, and the works Hondas of Rossi and Gibernau. Bayliss exploded from his second row start and the former World Superbike Champion lead the first 10 laps of the race, his first time in the lead of a MotoGP, until his persuers finally reeled him in and an epic 4-way battle ensued for the lead. At one point they were actually 4 abreast going into one corner, and more times than could be counted the four riders traded 1st for 4th in the space of a corner.

The race came down to 2 laps from the end when Rossi recovered his Repsol Honda from 4th position, Capirossi's Desmosedici expired at the wayside with a dead electrical system, and Rossi retook the lead from Bayliss and Giberneau on the final lap, holding off the Frenchman by half a bike length - just 0.041 seconds as they crossed the finish line.

For Rossi himself the race was a vindication of his self-belief after some relatively lowly results of late. “That was one of the best races of the year,” said the Italian. “For the first time we fought without tactics. Sometimes this year we have thought too much about the moves. Today there were four or five really fast guys who all wanted to be at the front. We pushed the bikes very hard and I made some mistakes. Sete made some and I crossed the line first. It was very special.”

Worlds collided and sparks were flying as Troy Bayliss on the Ducati battled Valentino Rossi on the Honda for the lead, certainly the first of many epic battles to follow in the future between the two different World Champions.

Gibernau was full of praise for his rival, even in defeat. “Every race we have this year seems to be better than the other ones,” smiled Gibernau. “We are battling very hard and we tried 100% from the start. Congratulations to Valentino, he deserves it. Today he was the best - I tried my best to win, but he won. I heard that Valentino was in a crisis – I hoped he was in a crisis. If this is his crisis I do not want to know about it when he is not having a crisis!”

Gibernau (15) was just this close behind Rossi (46) as they crossed the finish line.

Having run with the leading bunch in the early laps, Brno specialist Max Biaggi (Camel Pramac Pons RC211V) slid down the order to finish fifth after experiencing turn in problems, running wide and almost losing the front. Biaggi was one place behind the Yamaha of Carlos Checa.

“This is certainly not a good result,” said Biaggi. “I did not enjoy riding and this has been a terrible race because I know I can go much faster at this track. At one stage I nearly fell but I jolted the handlebar with my left hand and that miraculously redressed the balance – but by that time Checa had overtaken me. I think the three hours we had in practice were not enough to set-up the bike correctly.”
The unhappy Biaggi was three seconds ahead of the quick learning Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) who held off the unwanted attentions of Alex Barros (Yamaha).

Another weekend of progress for Nicky Hayden was not enough to satisfy the young American’s hunger for success. “Generally a positive weekend,” he acknowledged. “It was good being up the front in qualifying but this weekend I wanted a little more. I just seemed to be missing a little bit – me and the bike. I got on the back of Checa for a long time but just couldn’t get past. I’m happy I finished so close to the leaders, that gap was pretty close and it’s good to have moved up in the points as well.”

Eighth place was a disappointment for the hard work put in by Tohru Ukawa and his Camel Pramac Pons team. “ The result is no good, eighth position,” said Ukawa. “In the middle of the race my pace was not so bad but at the beginning it was so difficult to be in the lap time. There was too much gap to make up to the top group. We have seen this many times this year. At the end there was much more spinning from the rear than earlier so the gap to Barros grew. Tomorrow I am testing here so we will try to find a solution.”
Makoto Tamada (Pramac Honda) rode with his by now customary mix of aggression and security to finish ninth, struggling to overcome a bad start.

Rossi’s win, his fourth of the year, puts him on a total of 212 points while Gibernau lost some ground to his main championship rival and now sits on a total of 178. Biaggi is in third with 141 points.

Results MotoGP Race Classification MotoGP : (22 laps = 118.866 km)
Pos/Rider /Nat /Team /Motorcycle /Time/KM/H
1/Valentino ROSSI /ITA /Repsol Honda /HONDA/44'18.907/160.937
2/Sete GIBERNAU /SPA /Telefónica Movistar Honda /HONDA/44'18.949/160.934
3/Troy BAYLISS /AUS /Ducati Marlboro Team /DUCATI/44'19.575/160.896
4/Carlos CHECA /SPA /Fortuna Yamaha Team /YAMAHA/44'24.297/160.611
5/Max BIAGGI /ITA /Camel Pramac Pons /HONDA/44'27.636/160.410
6/Nicky HAYDEN /USA /Repsol Honda /HONDA/44'29.950/160.271
7/Alex BARROS /BRA /Gauloises Yamaha Team /YAMAHA/44'30.346/160.247
8/Tohru UKAWA /JPN /Camel Pramac Pons /HONDA/44'32.481/160.119
9/Makoto TAMADA /JPN /Pramac Honda /HONDA/44'42.180/159.540
10/Marco MELANDRI /ITA /Fortuna Yamaha Team /YAMAHA/44'45.311/159.354
11/Olivier JACQUE /FRA /Gauloises Yamaha Team /YAMAHA/44'45.592/159.338
12/Colin EDWARDS /USA /Alice Aprilia Racing /APRILIA/44'49.635/159.098
13/Noriyuki HAGA /JPN /Alice Aprilia Racing /APRILIA/44'58.438/158.579
14/Shinya NAKANO /JPN /d'Antín Yamaha Team /YAMAHA/45'00.147/158.479
15/Ryuichi KIYONARI /JPN /Telefonica Movistar Honda /HONDA/45'03.530/158.281
Fastest Lap: Valentino ROSSI 1'59.966 162.135 Km/h Lap 22

World Championship Positions:
1 ROSSI 212, 2 GIBERNAU 178, 3 BIAGGI 141, 4 CAPIROSSI 97, 5 BAYLISS 96, 6 CHECA 78,
7 UKAWA 74, 8 BARROS 71, 9 HAYDEN 67, 10 NAKANO 65, 11 JACQUE 55, 12 TAMADA 47,
13 EDWARDS 46, 14 HAGA 33, 15 ABE 24.

Randy de Puniet and Aprilias continue 250cc Domination
Roberto Rolfo (Fortuna Honda RS250RW) had to watch a leading trio of Aprilia riders make the front running for almost the entire 20-lap 250cc event, the Italian star finally finishing fourth after a consistent display of fast lapping. Randy de Puniet (Aprilia) held off his race long partners Toni Elias and Manuel Poggiali to win his second race of the year.

Rolfo was frustrated to take fourth. “I didn’t make the best of starts and I had to recover quickly,” said the Italian, who still enjoys a genuine chance of the championship win itself. “After I had dropped back to fourth it was impossible to close the gap again and I did not have the acceleration I needed off the corners. It was like an elastic effect, close going into the corner, slower coming out.”

Sebastian Porto (Telefonica Movistar Junior Team RS250RW) was on the tail of the leading group after overcoming a third row start and he was to end his race five seconds down on Rolfo, in a fine fifth place.
After experiencing many problems finding a good set-up in practice, Porto nonetheless had to settle for fifth. “I could not get the best suspension settings and that affected my ability to ride my fastest,” said the Argentine. “When the machine is not set up 100% it is impossible to push hard enough to make up time to the leading group.”

The only girl in the MotoGP World Championship, Katja Poensgen (Dark Dog Molenaar Honda RS250RW finished was 20th. The former SBK and German National SuperStock star has yet to break into the top half of the standings this season.

The World Championship points standings show Poggiali in the lead with 145 points, Nieto second on 136 and Rolfo third, a single point down on Nieto and only ten behind Poggiali. De Puniet is on a total of 130 and Elias sits fifth on 126. Porto is eighth, with 98 points.

250cc:Results: (20 laps = 108.06 km).
Pos/Rider /Nat /Team /Motorcycle /Time/KM/H
1/Randy De Punet /FRA /Safilo Oxydo-LCR /APRILIA/41'45.354/155.273
2/Toni ELIAS /SPA /Team Repsol Telefonica Movistar /APRILIA/41'45.881/155.241
3/Manuel POGGIALI /RSM /MS Aprilia Team /APRILIA/41'46.305/155.214
4/Roberto ROLFO /ITA /Fortuna Honda /HONDA/41'50.846/154.934
5/Sebastian PORTO /ARG /Telefonica Movistar jnr Team /HONDA/41'55.761/154.631
6/Fonsi NIETO /SPA /Team Repsol Telefonica Movistar /APRILIA/41'56.229/154.602
7/Franco BATTAINI /ITA /Campetella Racing /APRILIA/42'00.632/154.332
8/Sylvain GUINTOLI /FRA /Campetella Racing /APRILIA/42'00.919/154.315
9/Naoki MATSUDO /JPN /Yamaha Kurz /YAMAHA/42'18.106/153.270
10/Hector FAUBEL /SPA /Aspar Junior Team /APRILIA/42'21.521/153.064
Fastest Lap: Toni ELIAS 2'03.969 156.900 Km/h Lap 11

The new generation Aprilia RSV Mille R hits US showrooms in September. Complete details HERE.
Preliminary Support Class Rules Also Announced

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Aug. 18, 2003) -- The AMA Pro Racing Board of Directors has ratified technical rules for the 2004 AMA Superbike Championship season and have approved, but not released a preliminary set of rules for support classes including Supersport, Superstock and Formula Xtreme. A refinement to the 2004 class structure has also been approved but not releases as of yet..

Here are the principal tecnnical regulations for AMA Superbike:

Fuel injection throttle bodies:
Multi-cylinders – Restricted to stock throttle bodies and air intake boxes.
Twin-cylinders – In addition to the stock throttle bodies, one alternate, AMA-approved throttle body type/set is permitted as well as aftermarket air intake boxes.

Engine modifications:
Multi-cylinders – Limited modifications are permitted but such items as stock camshaft lift, stock valve sizes and lightly-modified stock crankshafts are required.
Twin-cylinders – The same limited modifications as multi-cylinders are permitted except for the following items:
o Valve sizes and material are unrestricted.
o Camshafts are unrestricted.

Multi-cylinders – In addition to the stock set of gear ratios, one alternate, AMA-approved set of ratios is permitted. Primary drive ratios must remain stock.
Twin-cylinders – The same rules as multi cylinders apply.

Multi-cylinders – Limited modifications to the stock frame are permitted such as gusseting for additional strength.
Twin-cylinders – The same rules as multi-cylinders apply.

Minimum weight:
Multi-cylinders – The minimum total motorcycle weight (less fuel) is 370 lbs.
Twin-cylinders – The same 370 lbs. minimum weight applies.

Scott Hollingsworth, AMA Pro Racing CEO is confident the new technical rules will help achieve the objectives of continuing to deliver close competition and quality entertainment, maintaining adequate control of costs, and encouraging increased participation from major motorcycle manufacturers. “With the input of all major stakeholders, we have created a set of rules that will provide the ideal marketing platform for continued growth,” said Hollingsworth. “The United States represents the world’s most important motorcycle market and we’ve opened up the door for more companies to use motorcycle racing as a means to promote their products.”

Development of the final AMA Superbike rules included measures taken to improve parity among the two primary engine configurations. “Keeping the twins competitive and opening the door for increased manufacturer participation was a primary goal for 2004,” said Hollingsworth. “We expect performance of the next generation multi-cylinder models to advance even further and it’s imperative that we adjust the rules structure to account for this ongoing development. We have created an environment that provides opportunity for all manufacturers to showcase their products and remain legitimately competitive.”

In addition to finalizing the 2004 AMA Superbike rules, the AMA Pro Racing Board of Directors has approved a preliminary set of rules for support classes. AMA Pro Racing licensed riders and credential holders may comment on proposed support class rule changes during a 30-day comment period beginning Monday, Aug. 18 through Tuesday, Sept. 16. Comments can be made on AMA Pro Racing’s RIDERS ONLY website at After the 30-day comment period concludes, AMA Pro Racing will review suggestions before sending the package to the AMA Pro Racing Board of Directors for final ratification.

Hollingsworth confirmed that the 30-day comment period, specifically for support classes, will yield final technical rules for AMA-sanctioned road racing in the United States. “With AMA Superbike complete, we can now turn our attention to the support classes,” concluded Hollingsworth. “At the end of the process, we’ll have created a class structure and set of technical rules that best serves the needs of the entire racing community, including our fans, and allows for continued growth and commercial development of our series.

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Rider Quotes from Bruno
Valentino Rossi , Repsol Honda Team: 1st: "That was one of the best races of the year. I'm very happy. For the first time we race without tactics. Sometimes this year I have thought too much about the moves. Today there were four or five really fast guys who all wanted to be in front. We push the bikes very hard. I made some mistakes; Sete made some and I crossed the line first. It was for me just like the overtake I made on Jorge Martinez for the first victory of my career here. It was very special."

Sete Gibernau, Telefonica MoviStar Honda: 2nd: "I think that was one of the best races of the year. We all gave our maximum from the very start without thinking about tactics. Once Rossi took the lead I passed Troy as soon as I had the chance to make sure Valentino didn't escape. In the final stages of the race we were all sliding around a lot and I knew it would be a tough head to head with Rossi. I made the most of a small mistake he made to overtake him and pushed hard to open up a gap, but then I made a mistake myself and Valentino went past. I can only say congratulations to him because he deserved it just as much as I would have. They are saying he is in a crisis - I hope not because I can't imagine what he would be like at 100%! Obviously I would like to have won but in any case I think we are showing we are very competitive. Of course, this is down to the fantastic team I am in and I would like to thank each and every one of them for a great job.

Ducati MotoGP Team riders Troy Bayliss and Loris Capirossi played a starring role in this afternoon’s breathtaking Czech GP, Bayliss taking a brilliant third-place finish, Capirossi in the thick of the battle for victory until his bike stopped three laps from the finish.

“We have mixed feelings today,” said Ducati MotoGP Team director Livio Suppo. “In one way we can consider this our best race so far, because both our riders were fighting for the win and we thought that they could both finish on the podium for the first time, which shows that the bike is very good and getting better.

Troy rode an unbelievable race, the improvement in his pace since Friday has been incredible. Of course we feel very sorry for Loris, he looked good, like he was waiting to attack on the last lap. We’re not yet sure what happened to his machine, but maybe it was an electrical fault. This is our first season in MotoGP, so it’s inevitable that we’ll have the occasional little problem. As always I’d like to thank everyone involved in the team and at the factory.”

Bayliss and Capirossi raced with the new frame they tried for the first time on Friday, the new unit’s efficacy proving the effectiveness of Ducati’s MotoGP test team. The pair also used new fairings, designed to boost engine performance and improve rider comfort. Both men will take part in a full day’s testing here at Bruno tomorrow, when they will focus all their efforts on improving the new chassis still further.

Ducati MotoGP Team rider Troy Bayliss rode his best race of his rookie MotoGP season at Brno today. Although the hard-riding Aussie had previously taken third in May’s Spanish GP and last month’s German GP, this is the closest he’s finished to the front since he joined the MotoGP circus. Bayliss led the first ten laps, then got stuck into several skirmishes with team-mate Loris Capirossi and Honda rivals Valentino Rossi and Sete Gibernau. As ever, he never gave in without a fight, finally crossing the line just 0.668 seconds down on winner Rossi.

“Loris and I have always had good starts this year, so I was hoping to be at the pointy end by turn one,” said ‘Baylisstic’, who used his Desmosedici’s awesome power to grab the holeshot from the second row of the grid. “I felt comfortable out front, I wasn’t pushing over the top, and I knew they’d come by some time, though when they did I was surprised they didn’t have more left in them. Maybe I should’ve had some more self-belief! This is a learning year for us, things are coming together slowly. Today I felt more comfortable on the bike than I’ve done for some while, and up front is where I think I should always be.”

Loris Capirossi also rode a great race today, running with the leaders and waiting for the final laps to make his attack. But it wasn’t to be. Two and a half laps from the flag his Ducati MotoGP Team Desmosedici stopped with a suspected electrical fault. At the time Capirossi had been in third place, less than a second behind the leader.

“In the early stages I wanted to take things steady and conserve my tyres,” said the Italian who had qualified fourth fastest and ran fifth until half-distance when he overtook Max Biaggi. “I lost some time behind Max, but after I overtook him I was able to catch the three guys out front. I passed Troy and then I was waiting to unleash my challenge in the last lap or two – anything was possible in those final laps. Then the bike suddenly stopped. It’s a pity because we lost the chance of scoring another victory, but these things happen in racing. The main thing is that the bike is working really well, the new chassis is great and we know we should be able to fight for the win next time out.”

Max Biaggi, Camel Pramac Pons Honda : 5th: “This is certainly not a good result.” “I did not enjoy riding and this has been a terrible race because I know I can go much faster at this track. At one stage I nearly fell but I jolted the handlebar with my left hand and that miraculously redressed the balance – but by that time Checa had overtaken me. I think the three hours we had in practice were not enough to set-up the bike correctly.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda Team: 6th: "Generally a positive weekend. It was good being up front on the qualifying days but today I was expecting a little more. I just seemed to be missing a little bit - me and the bike. I got on the back of Checa for a long time and couldn't get past. I got the run on him a few times but that was it. I'm happy I finished so close to the leaders - that gap was pretty close and it's good to have moved up in the points as well. I'll take all the positives from the weekend and move on - to the tests tomorrow and the next GP in Portugal."

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Brno (CZ) – Monday August 18, 2003 – MotoGP Ducati Marlboro Team Tests – After the exciting and successful Czech Republic GP at the weekend, the Ducati Marlboro Team has remained at the Brno circuit today for a busy day of testing. Tests have been carried out on the latest machine modifications and important new parts fitted to the Desmosedici starting from this GP.

After having successfully checked the efficiency of the new bodywork and chassis (these new parts were used both in practice and in the race by both the Ducati Marlboro Team riders), Bayliss and Capirossi have worked today on the new, larger diameter Ohlins forks, which had been left to test during these post-race sessions, and on a series of new Michelin front tyres.

Bayliss completed 45 laps at a stunning pace, and on two occasions recorded lap times of 1’59.4 (using the new front tyres and with the same rear tyre compound used for yesterday’s race). Unfortunately, a crash – luckily without any injury – forced him to put an early end to the second part of the test day, when he was supposed to test the new forks. “Now, this bike is perfect!” Was Troy’s comment at the end of the test. “I lapped fast and spent a lot of time on the track today. I’ll try the new forks as soon as possible but, for the time being, I’m more than happy. I’d say this trip to the Czech Republic has certainly been a positive experience.”

Overall, Capirossi completed 52 laps, with a fastest time of 1’59.0 (about 1 second faster than the best lap time recorded in yesterday’s race). Unlike his team mate, Loris used the first part of the session to test the new forks, and then focussed on the new front tyres later in the day.

“The new fork is really good,” said Loris. “The bike feels even more stable under braking and, with this fork, the new chassis and new Michelin front tyre we’ll make good progress in the next few races.”

Today at Brno new Shell Advance lubricants were also tested, especially designed for the high-performance Ducati Desmosedici engine.
The Ducati Marboro Team will next be racing at the “Grande Premio Marlboro de Portugal”, at the circuit of Estoril, on Sunday, September 7th.

HRC MotoGP test Brno, Czech Republic, August 18th:
No respite for Hondas MotoGP Championship contenders
The relentless MotoGP race-testing programme continued at the Brno circuit on the day after the Czech Republic GP was held at the track. Honda mounted
MotoGP Championship team riders, with the exception of Ryuichi Kiyonari (Telefonica MoviStar Honda), completed a hard days work at the 5.403km

The one-day test was cantered around tyre development, all but Bridgestone supported Makoto Tamada (Pramac Honda) testing Michelin rubber. HRC took
the opportunity to test new engine parts on Rossi's RC211V 990cc five- cylinder Honda.
Championship pace setters Valentino Rossi, and Sete Gibernau, first and second respectively in Sundays GP, both lapped at qualifying pace but were upstaged by Camel Pramac Honda rider Tohru Ukawa who lapped at 1m 59s flat, over half a second faster than his best qualifying lap.

Valentino Rossi, Repsol Honda: "Satisfied with a hard days work. After the big emotion of a race like Sunday it's sometimes really difficult to get out again but it was important and we made some good work. We tested many tyres from Michelin and some new engine parts from HRC. With some of the
new tyres we need more traction so we have to do a lot of work on the settings as well."

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: "Bit of a tough day really because after a long hard weekend you've got to really motivate yourself to get out there again and work hard. He test was really based around working on tyres for the front, pretty hard really as you've got to find the limits. The Michelins were good and I think we made some pretty good progress. It was more good
experience grindin' out more laps. I'm off to the States for a couple of weeks which I'm really lookin' forward to. Then back to Portugal in September."

Sete Gibernau, Telefonica MoviStar Honda: "The test was very successful for us. The new Michelins we tested were good, both front and rear tyres. I got
down to my race times very quickly. It was a good day. Now I'm going to Italy for three days. Down to the team race shop on the Adriatic to test a Super Motard machine!"