Rossi survives Sepang furnace to take ninth win of the season 2008 World Champion Valentino Rossi rode an inch-perfect race in energy-sapping conditions at Sepang today to take his ninth win of the season and his 150th career podium. He is only...
Rossi survives Sepang furnace to take ninth win of the season
2008 World Champion Valentino Rossi rode an inch-perfect race in energy-sapping conditions at Sepang today to take his ninth win of the season and his 150th career podium. He is only the second rider in the history of the sport to pass this milestone, the other being Giacomo Agostini, whose all-time win record Rossi has already broken this season. Rossi's Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo meanwhile had a disappointing day, with his challenge ending in the gravel trap on lap 12.
With temperatures in excess of 40 degrees as the riders lined up on the grid, today's race was clearly going to be a test of endurance, both for riders and tyres. Rossi, starting from second, crossed the line for the first time in third but was able to pass Andrea Dovizioso on the next lap, setting the fastest lap of the race in the process, and set off on the heels of Dani Pedrosa. The pair gradually began to open out clear air from the chasing pack but the gap between them remained at just a few tenths of a second for next eight laps. Rossi eventually made his move at mid-race distance, was able to pass Pedrosa on the brakes into the hairpin at turn nine and was then unchallenged to the chequered flag, crossing the line 4.008 seconds ahead of the Spaniard with Dovizioso in third.
The paddock now heads straight to Valencia in Spain for the 18th and final round of the season, with Rossi looking to avenge two bad years at the track and Lorenzo determined to secure the title of Leading Rookie with a positive performance to make up for today's disappointment.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 1st Time: 43'06.007
"I am so happy with this win today because all of the toughest championship of my career, including with Yamaha in 2004, have been won with nine victories. Of course that doesn't mean I don't want to win again next week, but for now I like this number! Today was incredibly hard because it was so hot. Once I got behind Dani I tried to pass many times but he was very fast and very consistent and I had a good battle to get by him. Lap-by-lap I understood better where it was possible and eventually I could make my move and go away from him. Everything worked very well today in such conditions, my M1 and my Bridgestone tyres and I want to thank everyone for making me so fast all weekend. I love winning here because it's such a great track but today was really a test, especially the last five laps when I really had to make an effort to keep my concentration in such incredible heat. Anyway, it was important to win here because when we came here in the winter I did a very fast race simulation and I promised my new Bridgestone tyre technician, Peter, that we would win the race! I took a gamble in February so I had to win today! Finally I want to congratulate my friend Marco Simoncelli for winning the 250cc World Championship today. I know how hard he has worked to get here and he really deserves it - I am very happy for him."
Davide Brivio - Team manager
"Nine wins sounds good! Now that we've won the world championship it's great to race for fun and to think only of winning and today was just like that. Valentino rode a perfect race; he started well, followed Dani for some time then passed him and escaped and he did a good job to keep his concentration and rhythm in such hot conditions. This has been another great day in a fantastic season for us and now we're looking forward to one more in Valencia."
Disappointing day for Lorenzo as he slides out of Malaysian GP
Jorge Lorenzo's high hopes for a podium in the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang today ended in the gravel trap on lap 12, when the Fiat Yamaha rookie slid out of sixth position. His team-mate and 2008 world champion Valentino Rossi meanwhile led from the middle of the race to take his ninth win of the season.
After being fast all weekend and qualifying on the front row for the fifth race in succession, Lorenzo was determined to make a return to the podium after just missing out at the last two rounds. He got a poor start however, which left him in seventh, and he lacked the grip he'd had all weekend which meant he was unable to replicate the fast race pace he had shown in the practice sessions. By mid-race distance the Michelin-shod rider had begun to improve his rhythm somewhat and he was able to pass Shinya Nakano to move into sixth, but at turn one on lap 12 he lost the front and slid out.
Lorenzo remains fourth in the championship and still leads the Rookie of the Year standings with one round remaining. The final race of the season takes place in Valencia, Spain in just one week's time.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: DNF
"I didn't feel good today and I was riding much worse than yesterday. I was having some problems in braking and acceleration and this is really a pity because I thought I had the chance to be on the podium today. I had many problems with my tyres in the first few laps and in fact I had a lot of warnings about the crash, but in the end I just couldn't avoid it. I got a bad start and it seems this part of the race is getting more difficult every time. If I had a better start I could have tried to go with Valentino and Pedrosa but today was terrible. We have to change something here because at the moment it's quite difficult. Apart from these problems I know I didn't have the same feeling in myself as I had yesterday, so it really wasn't a good day! It's a little sad now that we can only be fourth in the championship, but I can still be rookie of the year so I will focus on this because it's important for all of my team. Congratulations to Valentino for another triumph and now let's look onwards to Valencia."
Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager
"We're quite disappointed with this result because we thought we had a good chance to be on the podium today. Unfortunately Jorge lacked grip compared to yesterday, especially in the front, and he wasn't able to ride in the same rhythm. He didn't get a good start and then lost a lot of places at turn one, so this also didn't help. He had finally begun to improve his pace and start to catch up when he crashed at turn one, so this was a great pity. Luckily he's not hurt however and now we're just focusing on Valencia and finishing the season on a high."