ROSSI'S TENTH VICTORY SECURES TEAM TITLE FOR GAULOISES YAMAHA
Just six days after lifting the MotoGP title with Valentino Rossi in Malaysia, the Gauloises Yamaha Team were celebrating again today as Valentino Rossi's record-breaking tenth victory of the season secured the Teams' World Championship at the Qatar Grand Prix. Rossi became the first Yamaha rider ever to take his win total for a single season into double figures after an exhilarating last-lap battle with Marco Melandri (Honda), whilst his team-mate Colin Edwards boosted the team's points tally to unbeatable status with a determined ride to fourth place.
Rossi's 79th victory of his career came after 22 dramatic laps of the Losail International Circuit, with Loris Capirossi (Ducati) taking an early lead from pole position before Sete Gibernau (Honda) took over. The Spaniard had built up a solid advantage by the halfway stage but he was eventually reeled in by the chasing pack and made a critical error with five laps remaining, running into the gravel when trying to repel an attack from Melandri. With Nicky Hayden (Honda) in close attendance, Rossi closed in on Melandri and the two Italians went head to head in a gripping finale, Rossi taking the lead with three laps remaining and holding off one last attempt from Melandri just two corners from the end to secure victory. With the riders' and teams' titles now in the bag, Yamaha needs to be just 50 points clear after Phillip Island to clinch the Manufactures' Championship.
VALENTINO ROSSI (1st -- 43'33.759)
"What a race! For me that was the best of the season, it was so much fun. I had bad memories from this circuit from last year so I really wanted to win and after practice yesterday I knew it was not impossible. I had two great rivals and all three of us showed that we were in very good shape until the end. We gave more than 100% and had a fantastic battle from the beginning to the end. I have to thank Yamaha and my whole team because my bike was very fast over the final few laps, which it needed to be because Marco Melandri was very strong and we had a great battle. He tried to pass me on the last lap but I was able to hold on and win -- my tenth of the season. I am very, very happy."
COLIN EDWARDS (4th; + 14.737)
"I felt we had the pace yesterday but we were looking for a little bit more rear grip to take that extra step and went with a different tyre this morning. It was the same as the other guys were using but my bike was set up around the tyre we had yesterday and I couldn't turn the thing. It was pushing the front a lot in the corners and I kept having to run it straight. We need to figure out why that was and take the lesson to Phillip Island in a couple of weeks. I'm disappointed for my team today because I was confident I could be up there fighting for the win and in the end it just didn't happen. On the up-side, my points today contributed to the teams' championship, so that's a good thing to take away from here."
DAVIDE BRIVIO -- GAULOISES YAMAHA TEAM DIRECTOR
"Today we saw a fantastic race, scored another victory and won another title so of course we are delighted. Valentino clearly wanted to win the race after what happened last year and he came out on top of another incredible battle, so congratulations to him. Colin finished in fourth place, which is not what he had hoped for, but he scored some important points and closed the gap to second in the championship so we are happy for him. The team have worked extremely well since Thursday, finding the right set-up for both bikes early in the weekend and then just fine-tuning for the race. We've won the Teams' Championship today and both riders have contributed to this, so congratulations to everybody. Both Valentino and Colin like Phillip Island so now we all looking forward to going to Australia in two weeks."