Phillip Island 2003 is remembered as one of Valentino Rossi’s finest races, winning the race despite a 10-second penalty.
If you look at the 2003 Phillip Island results, you see that Valentino Rossi beat Loris Capirossi by 5.212 to win the race, but, this doesn’t tell the whole story. You see, this race was one of the Italians finest races of his career, he was given a 10-second penalty during the race for passing Marco Melandri under the yellow flags.
Rossi was only informed of this penalty a few laps later when he was leading by Loris Capirossi by three seconds, therefore Capirossi’s pit board now showed that he was the race leader, despite seeing Rossi ahead of him. Valentino had to add 7 more seconds to his lead of the race to be able to win the race
The move was unintentional with Rossi not knowing why he was given the penalty, following the race he said, “I attacked and after seven or eight laps I see on my pit board ‘less 10’, I didn’t understand what it meant. Next time I see ‘P8’. I say to myself ‘f*** what happened?’ After I thought about a yellow flag but I don’t remember, I didn’t see any flag.”
When he realised what had happened, he knew he had to win the race by 10 seconds or more and simply pulled the pin, he rode as fast as he could around the circuit, he had no pressure and nothing to lose as he had already won the 2003 title on the Honda, therefore if he crashed then he would not have lost the title.
It is noted that when Loris Capirossi had realised what had happened, he too decided to race as fast as he could to try and salvage the win, smoking his tyres on the straight to try and catch his fellow Italian but it was not enough, Capirossi realised too late in the race what had happened, therefore by the time he was lapping faster to catch up, it was too late.
Following the podium finish Rossi said, “I don’t have a problem with the points so I close my eyes for the last 10 laps. I never make a race at 100% before all the time. Maybe today is the first time. The race for me was incredible.”
This race is still held in high regard by MotoGP fans across the globe with many saying it was his best race, winning the race by 15.212 seconds with 10 seconds of this win being deducted after.
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