Rossi Takes MotoGP Title With Motegi Victory

A-Style Grand Prix of Japan - Saturday September 28th
Report Day 3


With his eighth victory of the 2008 season, Valentino Rossi sealed his sixth MotoGP World Championship title , and eighth in all classes 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 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 apologised 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, Andrea Dovizioso and John Hopkins also featured in the top ten, with the only crash of the race coming from Rizla Suzuki wildcard Kousuke Akiyoshi

Valentino Rossi - Race Winner and New MotoGP World Champion

"It?s difficult to compare titles, but this one definitely feels great. I feel very good, because the battle was very tough this year, especially with Stoner and Pedrosa. It has been a long season with a lot of hard races. In my career I have been lucky and have won some hard championships -like the first with Yamaha in 2004-, but this one I maybe tried to put more effort in outside of the races to try and win. I have to thank everyone at Yamaha for their efforts this year, the M1 has been very fast and we have worked very hard every weekend. Today was a great battle and a great race, and to win the championship with a race win is fantastic."

250 cc

Marco Simoncelli took victory number four of his 2008 season, his second from pole position, to extend his lead in the 250cc World Championship and draw one step closer to his first quarter-litre title. He did so ahead of Spanish rival Alvaro Bautista.

Simoncelli had attempted to break free from the pack, but was chased down by first Julian Simon and subsequently Bautista, who laid down some blistering times en route to catching the Metis Gilera rider. With less than ten laps to go, Bautista had already broken Shinya Nakano?s circuit record from 2000 on multiple occasions, and set about putting on the pressure with the victory at stake.

Unfortunately for Bautista, his push coincided with the frontrunners encountering the backmarkers, and trying to get past 250cc debutant Daniel Arcas and wildcard Takumi Endoh the leading duo were broken up. Amidst the confusion Simoncelli was able to put the required distance between himself and his Spanish rival, and brought his Gilera RSA home first in Japan.

Bautista had signaled to Alex Debon that he should hang on his tail as he passed his fellow countryman on lap ten, and the experienced Lotus Aprilia rider made the most of the draft to catch up with Repsol KTM man Simon. He took his fourth podium of the year, denying Simon his first quarter-litre rostrum.

Title challenger Mika Kallio and home rider Yuki Takahashi completed the top six, ahead of Aleix Espargaro, Mattia Pasini, Hiroshi Aoyama and Roberto Locatelli.

125 cc

Stefan Bradl took the second victory of his Grand Prix career in the 125cc A-Style Grand Prix of Japan, from second on the lower cylinder class grid.

Heading into the final lap, the podium finishers were all-but-certain, but the order in which they would take the chequered flag was far from decided. Bradl, the young pretender, series leader Mike Di Meglio and Gabor Talmacsi, the reigning World Champion riding with immense pain in his recently operated arm, would pit their wits against each other for one last time in Japan.

Bradl held on for the win, whilst Di Meglio gained valuable points to extend his advantage in the World Championship to 36 points.Grizzly Gas Kiefer Racing rider Bradl also moved up to third in the classification, getting the better of Talmacsi in the standings as he did in the Motegi race.

After a crash-filled start to the race, which saw Marc Marquez, Dominique Aegerter, Pol Espargaro, Andrea Iannone, Hugo Van den Berg and Jules Cluzel all eliminated from proceedings before the first time across the line, the leading pack broke free for an entertaining duel between three of the 2008 season?s racewinners. Behind them, many got close but were unable to fully close the gap, with Joan Olive denied a fourth podium of the year by the frontrunners? pace.

Indianapolis racewinner Nico Terol placed fifth, coming out on top in another close three-way battle between himself, Emmi-Caffe Latte?s Sandro Cortese and his Jack&Jones; WRB teammate Simone Corsi, who remains second in the World Championship but with his chances of the title severely hampered. Scott Redding, Sergio Gadea and Danny Webb completed the list of the top ten riders past the line.