Valentino Rossi takes eight World Title with home win for Yamaha

28.09.2008: Valentino Rossi takes eight World Title with home win for Yamaha

Valentino Rossi rode a perfect race to win Yamaha's home Grand Prix in Japan today, claiming the 2008 MotoGP World Championship title in the process. In doing so the 29-year-old Italian became only the second rider in history to recapture the title after two years, the other being Giacomo Agostini, whose all-time victory record Rossi surpassed at the last race in Indianapolis.

This is Rossi's third title with Yamaha, his sixth in the premier class and eighth in total in a career spanning 12 years.

His team-mate Jorge Lorenzo finished a fighting fourth and today's results also secured the triple crown of Rider, Manufacturer and Team titles for Yamaha and the Fiat Yamaha Team.

Rossi slipped some places at the start and was in fifth first time around. He soon found his rhythm however as his Bridgestone tyres warmed up and he passed Lorenzo and Nicky Hayden on the next lap before settling in behind Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, the three contesting the next four laps within a few tenths of a second of one another. On lap six both Rossi and Stoner got by Pedrosa and from then on the Italian was on his championship rival's tail, determined to find a way to pass him and win the race despite the title being his with a podium finish.

With ten laps to go Rossi did just that and it was then a straight run to the finish as he pulled away from Stoner, crossing the line 1.943 seconds and 92 championship points ahead to seal a very special title after two barren years.

Rossi has won eight races this season and, with three remaining, he is still in with a chance of matching the 11 he won in his second season with Yamaha in 2005. Today's win was his 70th in the premier class, his 96th in total and his 148th career podium.

Valentino Rossi - Position:1st, Time:43'09.599

"It's a great victory and a great achievement; I think it's at the same level as the first title in 2004 with Yamaha, maybe even better! This championship has been very long and hard and all of the team and all of Yamaha have worked very well, never giving up for one moment. We have been able to put a great bike onto the track in all conditions and at all circuits, and this has allowed me to ride like this and to win so many races. I am very happy!

The race was a great battle and I had to ride at 100%, like I have through all through the season! Pedrosa and Stoner today were very strong and it was fun to fight with them like this, I am happy that it was a good race for the fans.

It was a fantastic feeling to take the title with a win, like I did in 2001 and 2004. I think this is the hardest I have ever had to work to win a world championship and I have to say a huge thank you to Yamaha, my mechanics, the team and everyone involved for working this hard alongside me. Of course I also have to say a special thank you to Bridgestone, they have done a great job with the tyres all season and the decision to be with them has been a big part of our success this season.

We have lost for two years and I don't think I was the favourite this season, but we have shown that we are a great team and that we never give up. I am so happy that I have now won three titles with Yamaha because this is how many I won with my last team and I want Yamaha to have the same merit - I am a Yamaha rider and I feel different with Yamaha than with anyone else before - I hope we will have more together! Now I have to get used to being World Champion again!"

Davide Brivio - Team Manager;

"Simply amazing! Every time he surprises us. We've already been working together for five years and what he can deliver on the track is always unbelievable. This year is another demonstration of how strong Valentino is, especially to come back to this level of performance after two very hard years. We knew we had to improve the bike and make it faster after last year and Yamaha have done this, but Valentino worked very hard in the winter too and, together with Bridgestone, we were able to start very strongly and get better as the season progressed.

2006 and 2007 made everyone stronger, including the relationship between Valentino and Yamaha; we knew that we didn't want to be in this situation again and so this has been a great motivation for this victory. Congratulations to Valentino, to all the team and Yamaha engineers, and thank you to Bridgestone, Fiat and all of our sponsors and partners. Congratulations also to Jorge's team and to Tech 3, they have all played a big part in winning the Triple Crown."

Jorge Lorenzo just missed out on a podium at Motegi today, finishing fourth after a hard fight with Dani Pedrosa. His team-mate Valentino Rossi won the race to take his eighth world championship title and Yamaha and the Fiat Yamaha team also secured the Team and Manufacturer's titles, both of which Lorenzo has played a significant part in during his rookie season.

After dominating qualifying, the young Spaniard was looking forward to being able to fight for the win today but much lower temperatures made things harder for him and he was unable to keep up quite the same pace as he had yesterday.

He slipped to fourth at the start, was relegated to fifth by Rossi on his charge to the front on the second lap and then took six laps to pass Nicky Hayden to regain fourth. The determined rookie was then 1.6 seconds from third-placed Pedrosa but he put his head down and pushed as hard as he could to bring himself into touching distance for a showdown on the last lap.

Lorenzo made his move at the hairpin but was unable to make it past Pedrosa today and had to settle for fourth and 13 points, leaving him 40 points adrift of his fellow Spaniard, who is third in the championship, with three rounds remaining.

Jorge Lorenzo - Position:4th, Time:+6.165

"I am very happy with this fourth position; it was impossible to do more today. I tried so hard to pass Dani and the hairpin before the back straight was the only place I had the chance, but I couldn't do it. Yesterday I thought I had a chance to win and I was very confident, but this morning I saw the weather, much colder and yesterday, and I knew that it would be more difficult than in the qualifying session.

The track was colder and for Michelin and for me this was more difficult. I have to improve my starts because once again I had problems and lost some places, but anyway I think I'm in good form for the last three races. The team worked very well this weekend, as always, so thanks to them and to Michelin. Big congratulations to Valentino and the other side of the box, to do what he has done is almost impossible!

Finally well done to everyone for winning the Team's and Manufacturer's titles as well, I am so happy that I have played a part in this during my first season with Yamaha."

Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager

"Obviously, after yesterday's qualifying, we hoped for a better result, but today Jorge did the best he could. He rode in a very fast and aggressive way but the weather, with the colder ground temperature, didn't help us and we achieved as much as we were able. Many thanks to the team for their work because the bike setting was very good, but we do need to work on our race start.

Congratulations to Valentino for the world championship title, won so far in advance, but we are also happy about the 'triple crown' of Team and Manufacturer's titles because we have played an important role in these titles."

Takashi Kajikawa - President and CEO Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.

"It gives me great pleasure to announce today that Valentino Rossi has reclaimed the championship title in MotoGP after two years of unfortunate near misses, and that we have also achieved the ultimate goal of adding the team and constructor titles to win the coveted "triple crown" in this premier class of international road racing. For us at Yamaha Motor Company, this great achievement is especially great because it comes at our home GP here in Japan.

"We owe this great achievement to Valentino Rossi, who won the championship today, as well as to Jorge Lorenzo, who won his first victory earlier this year in his first season in the MotoGP, and to Colin Edwards and James Toseland, who also rode hard throughout the season and won points on the Yamaha YZR-M1.

"I want to take this occasion to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of the people who have made this achievement possible, including not only the team members who have worked so hard to realize it but also the Yamaha fans around the world who have cheered them on consistently through the season and the sponsors who have supported them so generously..

"At Yamaha Motor Company, we believe that the racing arena is more than just a stage for technological development. It is also a theatre that helps nurture employee skills and traits such as the spirit of challenge that we value so much. For these reasons, racing has been an important symbol of our corporate culture that we have continued to pursue actively throughout our history., I also believe firmly that racing is a challenge that helps us bring Kando to many people around the world.

"I hope that everyone will continue to give us their support in this ongoing challenge."

 

- Yamaha -

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28.09.2008 / MaP

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