Motor Cycling: Rossi rains supreme

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The Independent Online

Valentino Rossi defied the Shanghai rain to win this morning's Chinese Grand Prix and move a step closer to his fifth world championship.

The Gauloises Yamaha rider started sixth on the grid but on a slippery track Rossi fought his way through to win from Kawasaki's Olivier Jacque, who claimed a surprise second from 15th on the grid.

His second win from three races this season puts Rossi 25 points clear in the championship race.

The Italian shot up to second on lap one and inherited top spot when the early leader, Suzuki's former world champion Kenny Roberts, suffered a heartbreaking retirement.

From then on he controlled the race and took the chequered flag by 1.7 seconds from Jacque, who was only riding today due to Alex Hofmann's injury.

Marco Melandri continued his impressive start to life with Movistar Honda by claiming third place for his second podium finish in three races.

It was another race to forget for his team-mate Sete Gibernau though.

The Spaniard had been fastest in qualifying but, on a wet track, his pole position counted for nothing and he slipped back to fourth.

Gibernau, who saw victory snatched from him in Spain and Portugal, battled severe tyre wear and came home nearly 20 seconds after Rossi.

The Spaniard did not even complete a slowing-down lap, preferring to dump his bike and trudge back to the pits on foot.

Max Biaggi's troubles continued as the Repsol Honda rider fought his way through the field following another dismal qualifying show which left him 14th. He eventually finished fifth but has drifted 34 points off the championship pace.

Jurgen van den Goorbergh performed superbly as a stand-in for the injured Makoto Tamada at Konica Honda. The Dutchman, who was competing in World Supersports before his surprise return to MotoGP, finished sixth after qualifying 19th.

Cumbria's James Ellison scored points for the second successive race with a career best-equalling 13th place for Blata WCM.