Barros parries Rossi's resolute charge

Alex Barros, of Brazil, fought off a momentous challenge from the young Italian Valentino Rossi to win the German 500cc Grand Prix on the Sachsenring inHohenstein-Ernstthal yesterday. Barros had looked likely to be beaten after Rossi completed a dramatic charge through the field to take the lead five laps from the end of the 31-lap race.

Alex Barros, of Brazil, fought off a momentous challenge from the young Italian Valentino Rossi to win the German 500cc Grand Prix on the Sachsenring inHohenstein-Ernstthal yesterday. Barros had looked likely to be beaten after Rossi completed a dramatic charge through the field to take the lead five laps from the end of the 31-lap race.

However, the Brazilian made a decisive passing move two laps from the finish and blocked a daring inside move from Rossi a few metres from home to win in 43min 54.710sec as the leading three riders finished within a second of each other. Rossi, who rides for a rival Honda team to that of Barros, was 0.078sec back.

"At first I just concentrated on trying to stay in the lead but when Rossi got past I gave it everything I had," the Brazilian, who also won in the Netherlands last month, said. "The pressure he put me under was incredible." Kenny Roberts, the world championship leader, finished third on a Suzuki, 0.864sec behind the winner. Roberts leads the standings with 161pts, ahead of Carlos Checa of Spain on 123.

Rossi made a poor start from the second row on the grid after qualifying in sixth place and found himself outside the top 10 as Roberts set the early pace from pole. Barros took his Italian team-mate Loris Capirossi and then eased past Roberts at the start of the seventh lap, while Rossi carved his way back into contention.

With seven laps to go, Rossi took second place behind Barros and their formidable battle began. Roberts moved into third place with an aggressive move heading into the final turn. The American pushed Capirossi off the track, which let the Italian Max Biaggi and Japan's Tadayuki Okada through. Capirossi came sixth.

The reigning world champion, Alex Criville, who has recorded only one victory this season, had another painful race, crashing out on the 19th lap as he collided with the Dutchman Jurgen van den Goorbergh.

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