Rossi romps to victory in Sepang
Valentino Rossi took victory number nine of his 2008 season in the Polini Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, escaping from the clutches of Dani Pedrosa in the final third of an exciting race at the Sepang circuit.
The 2008 MotoGP World Champion had started from second on the grid, but held onto the tail of Pedrosa’s Repsol Honda RC212V as his rival attempted to make an early breakaway. After taking the lead from the Spaniard on lap ten Rossi set about creating an advantage of his own, and as the race entered the final third the biggest problem for the Italian was the threat of rain.
With the option open to come in and change bikes, the Fiat Yamaha man -and indeed all the other riders so used to the changeable nature of conditions in Sepang- elected to stick out the light rainfall, a decision vindicated when the rain passed and the high temperatures quickly dried up any residual wetness.
With his latest podium finish Rossi extends his run of rostrum placing to eight consecutive Grands Prix, with a chance of win number ten in Valencia at next weekend’s season finale.
Pedrosa placed inside the top three in Sepang for the third time in as many premier class visits to the Malaysian track, although it was not enough to keep the battle for the runner-up spot in the 2008 World Championship standings alive. Nonetheless, the Spaniard recorded his best race result on Bridgestone tires, after taking his first pole for the Japanese manufacturer on Saturday afternoon.
With just one race left in his maiden MotoGP season, Andrea Dovizioso finally achieved a first premier class podium after a tooth-and-nail battle with Nicky Hayden. The JiR Team Scot rider also moved further into contention for the Rookie of the Year honor as his result combined with a crash from rival Jorge Lorenzo.
San Carlo Honda Gresini´s Shinya Nakano showed that he was also up for a battle, eventually keeping the fifth spot despite the best attempts of 2007 Sepang race winner Casey Stoner. Sixth place was enough for Stoner to confirm second in the season’s overall classification.
Loris Capirossi, Colin Edwards, Chris Vermeulen and Randy de Puniet rounded off the first ten past the checkered flag in the 21-lap race.
1 Valentino ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team Yamaha 43'06.007
2 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 43'10.015
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA JiR Team Scot MotoGP Honda 43'14.543
4 Nicky HAYDEN USA Repsol Honda Team Honda 43'14.865
5 Shinya NAKANO JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 43'16.590
6 Casey STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team Ducati 43'19.647
7 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 43'21.943
8 Colin EDWARDS USA Tech 3 Yamaha Yamaha 43'24.809
9 Chris VERMEULEN AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 43'29.181
10 Randy DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 43'31.523
11 John HOPKINS USA Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki 43'33.616
12 Anthony WEST AUS Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki 43'47.406
13 Sylvain GUINTOLI FRA Alice Team Ducati 43'51.624
14 Alex DE ANGELIS RSM San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 43'55.010
15 Toni ELIAS SPA Alice Team Ducati 44'05.146
16 Marco MELANDRI ITA Ducati Marlboro Team Ducati 44'09.335
17 Nobuatsu AOKI JPN Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 44'54.370
48 Jorge LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team Yamaha 25'38.557 9 Lap
52 James TOSELAND GBR Tech 3 Yamaha Yamaha 4'19.122 19 Lap