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Rossi Wins Opening Round of MotoGP at Suzuka

Defending MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi (Honda) won the opening round of the 2003 MotoGP series at Suzuka today in a race marred by a tragic accident involving Daijiro Kato (see discussion below). Rossi looked comfortable and fast while finishing ahead of second place Max Biaggi (Honda) and third place Loris Capirossi (Ducati).

Americans Colin Edwards (Aprilia) and Nicky Hayden (Honda) finished sixth and seventh respectively in their MotoGP debut rides.

Kato’s crash occurred early in the race. He went off the track and hit a wall near a chicane. Suffering serious injuries to his head, chest and neck, Kato was kept alive by track personnel that rendered assistance at the scene, before he was transported by helicopter to the hospital. Kato’s injuries were very serious, and we will update MD readers with additional information as it becomes available. Kato dominated the 250 GP series in 2001 (when he was crowned champion) and showed great promise as a MotoGP rider.

For additional details, results and points, visit the official Moto GP site here.