28 September 2008
Rossi wins Motegi, 2008 MotoGP title.
Valentino Rossi has won the 2008 MotoGP World Championship by winning Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi.
Rossi dropped from fourth on the grid to fifth after the opening turns of the 24 lap race, but team-mate Jorge Lorenzo on lap two before hunting down race leaders - and title rivals - Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa.
Even if Stoner won, Rossi only needed to finish third to secure the crown, but when Stoner put a tight pass on Pedrosa on lap six, Rossi also demoted the Spaniard and then shadowed Stoner before making a victory pass under braking on lap 14.
Rossi gradually pulled away from the Ducati star, who clinched the 2007 title at Motegi last season, and enjoyed a one second advantage by lap 17, before winning his fifth race in a row - and eighth of the season - by 1.943secs at the chequered flag.
The Fiat Yamaha rider thus has an uncatchable 92 point championship lead over nearest rival Stoner with just three rounds and 75 points remaining. A perfect day for Yamaha, at its home event, was made complete by also wrapping up the 2008 manufacturers' and teams' championships.
Rossi celebrated his return to the top with a big wheelie over the line and was instantly congratulated by Stoner, before doing a burn out at the side of the track and being greeted by his waiting fan club.
Rossi was given a special t-shirt with the words "sorry for the delay" in Italian on the front and a picture of a clock, with a cartoon image of Rossi 'cooking' his world championship victory - and the names of those who have played an important part in it - on the back. Valentino then sat down at a desk to sign some sort of contract!
Rossi won five consecutive 500cc/MotoGP World Championships from 2001 to 2005, and becomes only the second rider in history - after Giacomo Agostini - to regain the premier-class crown after two successive defeats. Agostini is now the only rider with more premier-class world titles than Rossi, having won eight.
Rossi is the first rider to win the premier-class title on four different types of motorcycle: A Honda 500cc four-cylinder two-stroke (2001), Honda 990cc five-cylinder stroke-stroke (2002, 2003), Yamaha 990cc four-cylinder four-stroke (2004, 2005) and a Yamaha 800cc four-cylinder four-stroke (2008).
The 2008 MotoGP World Championship is Rossi's eighth across all three grand prix classes, having also won the 125cc crown in 1997 and 250cc title in 1999, but his first ever with Bridgestone tyres.
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