Valentino Rossi claimed his 99th grand prix victory by beating home hero, team-mate and #99 Jorge Lorenzo with a 'dream' last turn pass in Sunday's Grand Prix of Catalunya.

The Fiat Yamaha stars dominated the race from the first turn to the last, swapping positions four times before the last lap began - and then another four times before they reached the finish!

Lorenzo had taken the lead from Rossi on the brakes into turn one, before Rossi dived underneath the 22-year-old into Turn Four. But Rossi couldn't hold the line and Lorenzo got straight back past. Rossi's hopes then looked all but over when Lorenzo made a pre-emptive defence at the end of the back straight, blocking the last obvious overtaking point.

With only the fast right handers to go, Lorenzo looked set to take his third victory of the season, first ever win on Spanish asphalt and regain the world championship lead from Casey Stoner - but made a critical mistake in assuming that Rossi couldn't pass at the last turn.

As Lorenzo took the normal racing line, Rossi tried a move unseen in all three classes by pointing his M1 inside Lorenzo and diving deep on the brakes. The reigning six time MotoGP world champion kept control and went on to win by 0.095sec.

The explosion of emotion within Rossi's pit underlined the significance of the victory, and Rossi couldn't hide his delight at such a heart-stopping win.

"As we say in Italy, 'Mamma Mia!' " beamed Rossi. "I think I can honestly say that this was one of the best and hardest wins of my career.

"The two greatest battles in recent years have been with Casey at Laguna and Jorge here, but they were very different races. At Laguna unfortunately Casey didn't make it to the end so I could relax, but here it was to the last breath.

"This was a great, great victory because it went to the very last corner and it's a long time since that has happened. I have dreamed about that move for the last two weeks and today it worked and I am so happy to have this 99th win.

"We did a perfect job all weekend and my M1 and Bridgestone tyres were brilliant, but we knew that Lorenzo was in the same situation and for sure he was very strong today.

"I had to be very brave and take it right to the limit in order to beat him. This victory today is more important than the 25 points and anyway now we [Rossi, Lorenzo and Stoner] all have the same [points], what a championship this is!" added Rossi, referring to the three-way tie at the top of the world championship.

"As well as thanking my team, I especially want to dedicate this win to my crew chief Jeremy Burgess because his mother sadly died yesterday. I have to say thank you because without him, for sure, I would never have arrived at 99 wins.

"Now I am going to go to sleep for quite a long time because I need to recover from this excitement!" the 30-year-old concluded.

Prior to Sunday's race, MotoGP had not seen a last lap victory pass since the 2006 Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril and Fiat Yamaha team manager Davide Brivio said Catalunya 2009 should rank as one of Rossi's all time best.

"This race deserves one of the top places in the gallery of Valentino's career. First of all, it was great day for Yamaha because we dominated a great race, with clean fighting and a great show. Everyone has been talking about the fact that there hasn't been a last-lap overtake in 43 races but I think we answered that today!

"For Valentino it is a very important victory and a win like that is great motivation, but the best thing for us is that it confirms what a good job we have done on the set-up.

"On Friday morning we made some significant modifications to the bike so thanks to all the technicians, engineers and the team because they are the ones that have developed these solutions and this victory is the best reward.

"To win a great race like this you must have a rider like Valentino and a bike and team like ours. The other riders are young and they will soon learn how to do the same, but for the time being Valentino is the only one who can do it."

Rossi can now claim a landmark 100th grand prix victory during the Dutch TT at Assen later this month, but will first join his rivals in a day of post-race testing in Barcelona on Monday.

"Tomorrow we will do some testing," confirmed Brivio. "We were looking forward to it, but in fact a lot of the things that we would have tested we have already tried out this weekend! Anyway, we will be here again working hard to make our rider's life even better for the remainder of the championship."

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