Japanese rider Makoto Tamada rode his Bridgestone-shod Honda to victory over Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) at today’s Motegi MotoGP, a race which saw all four American racers taken out in a first-turn accident.
Loris Capirossi (Ducati) got together with John Hopkins (Suzuki) in the first turn, and both riders went down. Max Biaggi (Honda), Colin Edwards (Honda), Kenny Roberts (Suzuki), and Nicky Hayden (Honda) all followed Hopkins and Capirossi into the gravel trap.
Championship leader Rossi, who was leading the race and just ahead of Hopkins when the crash occured, was left with a clear lead over second-place Tamada. Tamada, however, quickly closed the gap, passing Rossi and going on to take victory at his home race.
Kawasaki rider Shinya Nakano gave the company their first MotoGP podium by passing Marco Melandri (Yamaha) to take third place behind Rossi.
Suzuki teammates Hopkins and Roberts received the worst injuries from the pileup, Hopkins with two broken ribs and a severe gash to his buttocks, and Roberts with a dislocated left elbow and burns to the right side of his body. Loris Capirossi escaped with only a slight concussion and fractures to two foot bones, while the other crashers were all unhurt.
For more info, results, and points, check out the official MotoGP website.