Despite a 10 second penalty early in the race, Rossi charged ahead at the finish to bag the Australian grand Prix at Phillip Island on Sunday.

Despite a 10 second penalty early in the race, Rossi charged ahead at the finish to bag the Australian grand Prix at Phillip Island on Sunday.

In qualifying, Rossi had set a record lap of 1min 30.068secs to secure the front slot on Sunday’s grid by 0.428 seconds from Capirossi. Home hero Troy Bayliss had suffered a high-speed fall midway through the session, but recovered to set the fourth fastest time and secure a front row start behind Sete Gibernau.

However, the Aussie hopes were smashed when Bayliss crashed out on lap 3 after touching a white line under braking while running side-by-side on the outside of Melandri. Bayliss hit the ground hard and was flung through the grass and mud. After receiving medical attention and regaining consciousness, he was stretchered away and declared more or less fit after being checked at the medical centre though he had no memory of the crash or race.

The accident had far-reaching consequences when Rossi passed Melandri under waved yellow flags at the same turn one lap later - in a repeat of the incident that cost him a victory at Donington. He received a 10 secs penalty on lap 11 for his yellow flag infringement, at which time he held a 3,5 secs lead.

Meanwhile, Melandri, Gibernau, Capirossi, Hayden, Ukawa and Checa (separated by just 1,5s ecs and passing each other continuously) were now potentially locked in a battle for race victory.

But Melandri's hard fighting day would come to an end when he was kicked from his Fortuna Yamaha while chasing new second placed man Capirossi on lap 14. The incident allowed the Ducati rider to pull a lead on Gibernau, Hayden, Ukawa and Checa as his team tried to inform him of Rossi's penalty - and that he could win his and Ducati's second victory of the season.

However, Rossi was lapping around 0.6 secs a lap quicker than countryman Loris to extend his advantage to 6 secs with nine laps to go. Over the following laps he would to 9.9 secs, before finally taking the 'lead' back on lap 23, then continuing to pull away right to the chequered flag.

After the race, Rossi said, "I knew I had a better rhythm and I tried to overtake and go in the early laps. Then, when I had a three second lead, I see 'less 10' on my pit board (for overtaking under a yellow flag) and I didn't understand what it meant for two laps. I didn't want to lose two races this year because of that so I tried very, very hard – unbelievable!"

The fight for third would capture the attention for the remaining four laps, with Gibernau going all out to break Hayden, unsuccessfully, and the last lap would begin with the Catalan just 0.15 secs ahead of the Repsol rider, and Ukawa just 0.5 secs back.

The final results…

1. Rossi

2. Hayden

3. Capirossi

4. Gibernau

5. Ukawa

6. Jacque

7. Nakano

8. Checa

9. Roberts

10. Tamada

11. McWilliams

12. Hopkins

13. McCoy

14. Haga

15. Pitt

16. Edwards

17. Biaggi

18. Kiyonari

19. Aoki

20. Burns

Original article from Car