Motor Sports

Valentino Rossi becomes the most successful rider in premier-class history

Valentino Rossi wrote another chapter in his ever-expanding history book at Indianapolis today, claiming his 69th premier-class win and becoming the most successful rider in premier-class history in the process. His hat trick of pole position, fastest lap and race victory made for a perfect first Indianapolis Grand Prix for the Italian and a third place for Jorge Lorenzo rounded off an exceptional weekend for the Fiat Yamaha Team.

More bad weather in the early afternoon led to the 250cc race being abandoned and the early part of the MotoGP race was run on a very wet track. Rossi dropped to fourth at the start and then surrendered another place to Lorenzo on the next lap, but he soon found his rhythm and made his way back past Casey Stoner, Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso into second behind Nicky Hayden by lap six. Passing Hayden was no mean feat and it took the seven-time world champion another eight laps to finally get by the American, at which point he quickly began to pull away. Hurricane Ike was not finished with Indianapolis however and on lap 16 of 28 it started to rain heavily once again, accompanied by strong gusts of wind which became very dangerous. The race was eventually red-flagged after 20 laps and, after a few minutes confusion as to whether there would be a restart, Rossi was confirmed as the first ever MotoGP winner at the Brickyard.

Rossi’s 69th win takes him ahead of his fellow countryman Giacomo Agostini to the top of the all-time premier class winners list, a record which has stood for more than 30 years. Agostini claimed the 1975 500cc title with Yamaha and won six of his 68 victories with the Japanese factory.

Rossi is now 87 points clear of Stoner, who finished fourth today, which means he is able to win the championship at the next round in Motegi by finishing fourth or above.

A jubilant Rossi said, “This is fantastic because it’s been a long time since I won in the rain and even longer since I won four in a row! To win the first race here at Indianapolis is a great emotion and to beat Agostini’s record is also incredible, now I hope my record will stand for 30 years like his!”

Indianapolis MotoGP 2008 Results:

1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 37’20.095
2. Nicky Hayden (USA) Repsol Honda + 5.972
3. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team + 7.858
4. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro + 28.162
5. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) JiR Team Scot MotoGP + 28.824
6. Ben Spies (USA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 29.645
7. Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Alice Team + 36.223
8. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda + 37.258
9. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki + 38.442
10. Alex De Angelis (RSM) San Carlo Honda Gresini + 42.437
11. Anthony West (AUS) Kawasaki Racing + 47.179
12. Toni Elias (SPA) Alice Team + 55.962
13. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP + 57.366
14. John Hopkins (USA) Kawasaki Racing + 58.535
15. Colin Edwards (USA) Tech 3 Yamaha + 1’00.613
16. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 1’05.620
17. Shinya Nakano (JPN) San Carlo Honda Gresini + 1’05.854
18. James Toseland (GBR) Tech 3 Yamaha + 1’07.968
19. Marco Melandri (ITA) Ducati Marlboro + 1’21.023

MotoGP 2008 Championship Standings:

1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 287
2. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro 200
3. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda 193
4. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 156
5. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) JiR Team Scot MotoGP 129
6. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki 117
7. Colin Edwards (USA) Tech 3 Yamaha 109
8. Nicky Hayden (USA) Repsol Honda 104
9. Shinya Nakano (JPN) San Carlo Honda Gresini 87
10. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 86
11. Toni Elias (SPA) Alice Team 86
12. James Toseland (GBR) Tech 3 Yamaha 85
13. Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Alice Team 56
14. Alex De Angelis (RSM) San Carlo Honda Gresini 55
15. Marco Melandri (ITA) Ducati Marlboro 48
16. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 43
17. Anthony West (AUS) Kawasaki Racing 41
18. John Hopkins (USA) Kawasaki Racing 41
19. Ben Spies (USA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 20
20. Jamie Hacking (USA) Kawasaki Racing Team 5
21. Tadyuki Okada (JPN) Repsol Honda Team 2

Indianapolis Record Lap: V. Rossi (Yamaha) 2008, 1’49.668
Indianapolis Best Lap: V. Rossi (Yamaha) 2008, 1’40.776

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