Valentino Rossi has labelled his iconic tussle with Casey Stoner during the 2008 United States Grand Prix at Laguna Seca as his 'best battle'.

Considered one of the greatest MotoGP races of all-time, arch rivals Rossi and Stoner went up against one another in a thrilling exchange of overtakes that left little or no margin for error. Eventually decided in Rossi's favour when Stoner fell at the final corner, the win preluded a run of form that would see him clinch the 2008 MotoGP title comfortably.

Indeed, when asked to reflect on his most famous racing battles with riders over the years, Rossi acknowledges the challenges he has experienced against the likes of Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo, and most recently, Marc Marquez , but it is his head-to-head with Stoner that he regards as his favourite.

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"I think the first one was with Pedrosa in Brno in 2006 and I was on the Camel Yamaha. It was the first time that Pedrosa arrived [at the front] and I said 'f**k, this guy's arrived from 250, now we have two explain what happens in MotoGP!' And boom-boom-boom it was like this.

"With Stoner at Laguna Seca, with Jorge in Barcelona, with Marquez sometimes this year - I have a lot [of great battles], but for me the best one remains with Casey at Laguna [in 2008]."

Though Rossi has met his match in 2014 against the dominant Marquez, Rossi is certain the young Spaniard has taken time to study his rivals.

"Marc is a clever guy and he has a big passion for the motorcycle, he followed the sport [before he was racing] so he knows all the riders and I think he's studied very much the way to race of his opponents."


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Desh: I'm a Stoner fan, and I love that race as well. I know Rossi won that battle and he rode a smart race by preventing Stoner from being able to run the super committed lines the Ducati needed to run to be fast, but the reason I like watching that race is seeing how Stoner wrestled that under steering Duc around such a tight circuit at such a speed that if Rossi on the superior Yamaha had allowed Stoner even 1 complete clear lap at the front the race would have been over.[\blockquote]

mmh onesided. Remember it was 2008 that is 1 year after Stoners WC on the ultra fast Ducati which, in comparison, was the better or at least equally fast 800cc bike. The Ducati powered past on every straight and semi-straight. The Yamaha was able to outbrake stoner allowing Rossi to control the race. Both were equal over a lap and had different advantages, Stoner lost his nerve which is, sorry, not untypical for him...

I'm a big Rossi fan and was glad to see him beat Stoner at Laguna Seca but he did pass Stoner illegally. The rules are very clear, you must stay on the track, if you run off the track accidentally, you may not take advantage of another rider. After the race Rossi said he knew that if he passed on the inside on the dirt there was enough traction to do it. So that's what he did during the race. He passed Stoner by going off the track, violating the rule. He outsmarted Stoner and rattled him so badly that Stoner crashed but he made an illegal pass to do it.