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Valentino Rossi Wins 500cc Race

April 22, 2001

WELKOM, South Africa (AP) _ Valentino Rossi of Italy, riding a Honda, won the 500cc race of the Gauloises Africa’s Grand Prix Sunday.

He took the lead on the 17th of the 28 laps on the 2.634-mile Phakisa Freeway circuit.

Compatriot Loris Capirossi was second on a Honda, but was unable to stay with Rossi as he reeled off four successive lap records on laps 22 to 25. He had a 1 minute, 35.517-second record final lap.

Defending world champion Kenny Roberts of the United States led for much of the first half of the race. But his tires wore badly, and he wound up seventh.

Rossi, 22, already has won world titles in the 125cc and 250cc classes. He leads the 500cc championship race with 50 points, after his second consecutive win. Capirossi is second with 28.

Daijiro Katoh of Japan, on a Honda, won the 250cc race by 0.083 seconds over Marco Melandri of Italy, on an Aprilia.

Katoh leads the championship by 14 points with 50.

Youichi Ui of Japan, on a Derbi, won the 125cc race, leading all the way. It was his sixth Grand Prix victory _ he won five races last season.

Ui leads the championship standings with 45 points after two races.

Update hourly