Motorcycling: Second for Rossi as Tamada saves face for Honda

Valentino Rossi was content to settle for second place in the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi after moving a step closer to his fourth consecutive world championship.

Valentino Rossi was content to settle for second place in the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi after moving a step closer to his fourth consecutive world championship.

The Gauloises-Yamaha rider led early on after a chaotic first corner, but was soon hauled back by Camel-Honda's Makoto Tamada, who took an emotional win on home soil. Rossi, for once, was happy with second after seeing his main title rival Sete Gibernau flounder on his way to sixth, while Max Biaggi crashed out along with five rivals at turn one.

Rossi, who now leads the championship by 39 points, said: "I made a great start and that put me in front. I tried to stay with Makoto and tried to win. After leading for the first 10 laps he overtook me and then I started to slide a lot, and it was impossible for me to get back in front of Makoto. This second place improves our championship position though."

Shinya Nakano took a surprise third place for Kawasaki, who have struggled this season. The home rider rode superbly to get on the podium, giving the tyre manufacturer Bridgestone its best-ever result in MotoGP with two men in the top three.

"This is a fantastic result for me," he said. "The last lap was probably the longest in my racing life. I was just waiting for the chequered flag."

Neil Hodgson claimed his best result of the season with eighth place for D'Antin Ducati on a good day for MotoGP's British contingent. Jeremy McWilliams scored points for 12th place and his Aprilia team-mate Shane Byrne fought the discomfort of a recently-dislocated wrist to finish 13th.

In the 250cc world championship, the Welsh teenager Chaz Davies retired his KF Club Aprilia as Honda's Dani Pedrosa won the race. Honda enjoyed a clean sweep, the Italian teenager Andrea Dovizioso winning the 125cc race.

* John Reynolds took third place in the opening race of the final round at his local Donington Park circuit to secure the British Superbike title. Needing eight points, Reynolds finished behind Ryuichi Kiyonari and Michael Rutter. They also finished 1-2 in the second race, in which Reynolds finished sixth.



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