Rossi defeats Stoner again, clinches 6th title
With his eighth victory of the 2008 season, Valentino Rossi sealed his sixth MotoGP World Championship title at the A-Style Grand Prix of Japan. The Fiat Yamaha rider proved unstoppable at Twin Ring Motegi as he relegated outgoing champion Casey Stoner to second place in the 24-lap race.
|Rossi motors to 2-second win over Stoner|
Rossi had started from the second row of the grid, and looked to be on the back foot when Stoner took the holeshot and attempted to break away. The top three in the standings, Rossi, Stoner and Pedrosa became embroiled in an early battle for supremacy, narrowed down to a duel on lap five courtesy of a hard overtaking move by Stoner on his Spanish rival. The Ducati rider apologized for the pass, which took place on the run-up to the bridge section of the circuit, but still upped the pace in the ensuing laps –with Rossi hot on his tail.
The definitive pass for Rossi came on lap fourteen, and the Italian was able to do what he had done in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005: clinch the MotoGP World Championship with a race victory.
Stoner, a valiant foe for his successor over the course of the year, returned to the podium after three races off the rostrum. Whilst it was not enough to prevent Rossi from confirming the title, it still marked his first top three finish in Japan in the premier class.
The battle for the final podium place came down to two Spanish stars, with Pedrosa chased down by poleman Jorge Lorenzo. The Repsol Honda rider was put under pressure by the Fiat Yamaha rookie, and the two rivals clipped wheels on the final lap. Neither hit the asphalt, but Lorenzo was left without the chance of maintaining his run of top three finishes.
Nicky Hayden and Loris Capirossi rounded off the top six, with the experienced Italian unable to repeat his winning ways of the past three years at Motegi. Colin Edwards, Shinya Nakano and John Hopkins also featured in the top ten, with the only crash of the race coming from Rizla Suzuki wildcard Kousuke Akiyoshi.
1 V. ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team 43'09.599
2 C. STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team + 1.943
3 D. PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team + 4.866
4 J. LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team + 6.165
5 N. HAYDEN USA Repsol Honda Team + 24.593
6 L. CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 25.685
7 C. EDWARDS USA Tech 3 Yamaha + 25.918
8 S. NAKANO JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini + 26.003
9 A. DOVIZIOSO ITA JiR Team Scot MotoGP + 26.219
10 J. HOPKINS USA Kawasaki Racing Team + 37.131
11 J. TOSELAND GBR Tech 3 Yamaha + 37.574
12 R. DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP + 38.020
13 M. MELANDRI ITA Ducati Marlboro Team + 39.768
14 S. GUINTOLI FRA Alice Team + 45.846
15 A. WEST AUS Kawasaki Racing Team + 55.748
16 T. ELIAS SPA Alice Team + 59.320
17 A. DE ANGELIS RSM San Carlo Honda Gresini + 1'12.398
1 Valentino ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team 312
2 Casey STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team 220
3 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team 209
4 Jorge LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team 169
5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA JiR Team Scot MotoGP 136
6 Colin EDWARDS USA Tech 3 Yamaha 118
7 Chris VERMEULEN AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 117
8 Nicky HAYDEN USA Repsol Honda Team 115
9 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 96
10 Shinya NAKANO JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini 95
11 James TOSELAND GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 90
12 Toni ELIAS SPA Alice Team 86
13 Sylvain GUINTOLI FRA Alice Team 58
14 Alex DE ANGELIS RSM San Carlo Honda Gresini 55
15 Marco MELANDRI ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 51
16 John HOPKINS USA Kawasaki Racing Team 47
17 Randy DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP 47
18 Anthony WEST AUS Kawasaki Racing Team 42
19 Ben SPIES USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 20
20 Jamie HACKING USA Kawasaki Racing Team 5
21 Tadayuki OKADA JPN Repsol Honda Team 2