Rossi Rules With First American Victory

Fiat Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi took his first career win on American soil today, emerging victorious after an epic duel with Casey Stoner at Laguna Seca. The Italian, who signed a new two-year deal with Yamaha this week, has now won four races this season and is 25 points clear at the top of the championship.

Rossi started from second and was able to pass Stoner on the brakes during the first lap to take the lead. From then on it was clear that the pair were in a class of their own today as they gradually pulled out a gap from the chasing pack, trading passes with one another but with no one else able to stay with them. Stoner was often faster than Rossi on the straight but the seven-time world champion had the advantage in the twisty parts of the track and he was able to gain the lead back on the brakes each time the Australian passed him. With only 100ths of a second between them most of the time it looked like being a nail-biting race to the end, but on lap 24 of 32 Stoner made a mistake and ran off the track and into the gravel. This allowed Rossi some breathing space for the final eight laps and he eventually crossed the line 13 seconds clear of Stoner, who had been able to remount and still finish second, such was the gap the pair had pulled out from third-placed Chris Vermeulen.

It was a black day for the other side of the garage however as Jorge Lorenzo, Rossi's team-mate, took a huge tumble on the first lap and broke the third and fifth metatarsal bones in his left foot. He now faces a battle to be fit for the next race in Brno, in a month's time. With Dani Pedrosa missing the race this weekend, Stoner has now moved into second in the championship behind Rossi with seven rounds remaining.

Valentino Rossi - Position: 1 Time: 44'04.311
"What a race today! We made some modifications to our bike after warm-up and these gave us the last few tenths that enabled me to fight with Casey today; the result was just fantastic. I got a good start and I was able to pass him in the first lap, but I knew I had to try and stay in front of him and it was impossible to relax even for one second. My M1 was brilliant and so were my Bridgestone tyres; I really only made one mistake, at the corkscrew when I went a bit wide but in fact the dirt had quite good grip also! Casey was a bit faster on the straight than me but I was stronger on the brakes so I had to make all my passes there. I don't know how many times we changed the lead but it was a lot and it was great, great racing for me and I think also for the fans, because it's been a while since we've been like this. To stay in front I had to do high 21s at least on every lap and I want to thank my team and engineers for giving me a bike that could do this. I had a great rhythm and I am really so happy to win for the first time in America. About the passes, I am sorry that Casey thinks some of them were a bit strong but I really don't agree; I passed only on the brakes, I braked in the same places every time and we never touched. Of course this was an aggressive race, but it was definitely a fair one. Now we have the summer break and I am looking forward to relaxing a bit, but not too much because it's going to be a hard fight for the final seven races and we must keep the concentration!"

Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"Although it was not there, we saw the "heart" on Valentino's helmet again today! This is a great victory because throughout the entire weekend we were at a disadvantage, but nobody ever gave up and we worked until the very last minute to find a way to help Valentino to fight with Casey. We tried to optimize everything we had and at the end "The Doctor" completed the operation! This was a race Valentino did not want to lose. This is Valentino, one who never gives up and fights until the end. I would like to make big congratulations to him and thank the team and all the technicians! It is good to go on holidays with a 25 point advantage and now we must recharge the batteries for the last seven races. I hope to see battles like this one until the end of the championship. On another note, we're very sorry for Jorge today and we wish him the best and look forward to seeing him back in Brno."

Lorenzo's Laguna debut end in gravel after first-lap crash
Jorge Lorenzo suffered a dramatic high-side on the very first lap of the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca today, his debut American race ending in the gravel at turn five. The Spaniard broke the third and fifth metatarsal bones in his left foot and will now face a race to be fit for the next race in Brno, in a month's time.

Lorenzo made a good start and was looking promising in fourth place when the crash happened. It was immediately clear that he had injured himself, a depressing realisation for a rider who has already had to cope with two broken ankles and a concussion this season. With the summer break coming before the next race however the outlook is good for the 21-year-old, who has flown home tonight for further assessment in Barcelona this week.

There was cause for celebration on the other side of the garage as Valentino Rossi won his first ever US Grand Prix, following a scintillating battle with Casey Stoner. Rossi now leads Stoner by 25 points whilst Lorenzo remains in fourth.

Jorge Lorenzo - Position: DNF
I'm very sad today because I had a lot of confidence for the race after the qualifying session yesterday and, above all, after the very start of the race when I was fourth and feeling good. Then I crashed; my tyre was not up to temperature, I lost the rear and the next thing I knew I was in the gravel, with pain in my foot. It is one more crash, one more injury and it's another moment that I have to forget as soon as possible. I need to look forward. I am so sad but now I must concentrate on the fact that I have a whole month before Brno in order to be fit and to be able to race in good shape. This is my aim. I would like to congratulate to Valentino for his great victory and race today, he did a fantastic job."

Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager
"Unfortunately today's result is not what Jorge and the team deserved, after the progress we made in practice. We could have gone for a better result, but the main problem today was the lack of grip on the rear, which was amplified at the beginning of the race when the tyres were not yet at the optimum temperature. Now let's hope for a good rest for Jorge; we wish him a good recovery and we look forward to seeing him come back at Brno ready to fight again with the top riders."

Toseland fights hard for ninth, disappointment for Edwards
Tech 3 Yamaha rider James Toseland made a welcome return to the top ten this afternoon with a determined ride to ninth place in the American GP.

In sunny but cool conditions, the British rider made a fantastic start from the second row and found himself fourth at the first corner. But while cautiously waiting for his Michelin tyres to reach optimum working temperature, he slipped down to eighth at the end of the first lap.

Toseland moved back into sixth by lap six to engage in a long battle with Frenchman Randy de Puniet. He slipped back to seventh on lap 12 but reeled off a consistent pace in the 1.23 bracket to maintain constant pressure on de Puniet. His pace saw him get tantalisingly close to the battle for fourth place, but in the final stages of the 32-lap encounter, he lost two more places and finished ninth.

It was a disappointing race for Colin Edwards in front of his home crowd as he ended down in 14th. Sporting a special oneoff livery for his home race, the Texan briefly threatened to break into the top ten, but front-end issues prevented him from running his usual consistent pace.

The Tech 3 team now starts a deserved summer break before the world championship resumes in Brno on August 17.

James Toseland - Position: 9th Time: +0'43.019
"I'm pretty disappointed with that because I feel have put in a lot of effort and done my best to finish only ninth. I got a fantastic start and was fourth but unfortunately it was a tough race after that and I had to ride more defensive than I wanted to. With the harder compound tyres I knew I'd have to wait to get some temperature into them and that cost me a few places early on. Once I got into my pace in the 23s I was pretty happy because I'd hoped that would be good enough for a top six finish looking at the times from earlier in the weekend. I had a good long battle with de Puniet but our lap times were almost identical and I tried everything I could to close him down. At the end I was just trying to block people from passing me but Spies and Elias got me late on and that is a bit frustrating. On paper ninth doesn't look like a great result, and it doesn't feel like much of a reward for the effort that I have put in with my team this weekend. But I really couldn't have done anything else and I feel I got the best out of the package I had today. We'll hopefully be able to come back much stronger after the summer break and be fighting to be back in the top six again where we belong."

Colin Edwards - Position: 14th Time: +1'02.380
"I don't think I need to say that this race was well below what I expected. I've had a lot of great support from Yamaha US, the American fans and my family this weekend and they haven't got the result I wanted to give them. My guys at Tech 3 have worked tirelessly all weekend too but nothing really went for us. To be honest I was struggling from the start with the harder compound front tyre I had. I'd have some moment on the brakes while I was trying pass someone and I'd lose a load of time and a bunch of places. I'd gradually work my way back through only for it to happen again and it was frustrating. I just didn't have any confidence in the front and everybody knows I am a front-end guy. It has been a difficult week with the crash in Germany too, so I'm looking forward to the summer break and being able to return stronger in Brno. I'm still fighting for fourth in the championship and Tech 3 is still fourth in the team standings, so we have got a lot to fight for in the last seven races."

Herve Poncharal - Team Manager
"It was a tough weekend for us. We would have liked to go into the summer break with a better result, but having seen what happened in practice James did a really good race. We didn't expect him to be up there all race long and I'm disappointed for him that he lost two places in the last two laps because he performed to his maximum and as usual he never give up. It was good that he had that kind of race but it was a big disappointment for Colin. His crash in Germany didn't help and he arrived with some neck problems and then had some problems in practice. And he didn't have confidence in the race because that was not the Colin out there that we all know. The only consolation is that he has another race in America later this year where I'm sure things will be better for him. We are still fourth in the team championship and we have to work hard to keep that position. Hopefully the break will be good for everybody and we will be back strong in Brno. Finally, congratulations to Yamaha and Valentino for his first win in Laguna Seca."

Circuit Length: 3610
Temp: 21
Weather: Sunny

2008 MotoGP United States - Laguna Seca 21/07/2008

Race 1 - 32 Laps
Pos. Rider Manu. Nat. Total Time
1 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 44'4.311
2 Casey Stoner Ducati AUS 0'13.001
3 Chris Vermeulen Suzuki AUS 0'26.609
4 Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 0'34.901
5 Nicky Hayden Honda USA 0'35.663
6 Randy De Puniet Honda FRA 0'37.668
7 Toni Elias Ducati ESP 0'41.629
8 Ben Spies Suzuki USA 0'41.927
9 James Toseland Yamaha GBR 0'43.019
10 Shinya Nakano Honda JPN 0'44.391
11 Jamie Hacking Kawasaki USA 0'46.258
12 Sylvain Guintoli Ducati FRA 0'55.273
13 Alex De Angelis Honda SMR 0'55.521
14 Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 1'2.380
15 Loris Capirossi Suzuki ITA 1'8.207

Best Lap
Rider Manu. Nat. Total Time
Casey Stoner Ducati AUS 1'21.488

Rider Standings 20/07/2008
Pos. Rider Manu. Nat. Points
1. Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 212
2. Casey Stoner Ducati AUS 187
3. Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 171
4. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 114
5. Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 103
6. Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 100
7. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki AUS 89
8. Nicky Hayden Honda USA 84
9. James Toseland Yamaha GBR 72
10. Shinya Nakano Honda JPN 70
11. Loris Capirossi Suzuki ITA 61
12. Toni Elias Ducati ESP 46
13. Alex De Angelis Honda SMR 41
14. Randy De Puniet Honda FRA 40
15. Sylvain Guintoli Ducati FRA 38

Team Standings 20/07/2008
Pos. Team Points
1. FIAT Yamaha Team 326
2. Repsol Honda Team 255
3. Ducati Marlboro Team 219
4. Tech3 Yamaha 172
5. Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 152
6. Honda Gresini 111
7. JIR Scot Team 103
8. Team Alice 84
9. Kawasaki Racing Team 54
10. Honda LCR 40

Manufacturer Standings 20/07/2008
Pos. Manufacturer Points
1. Yamaha 241
2. Honda 197
3. Ducati 192
4. Suzuki 112
5. Kawasaki 52

Valentino Rossi
Jorge Lorenzo
James Toseland