Rossi Takes World Title With Win Number Eight in Australia Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha) secured the 2004 Riders' Championship today at Phillip Island after winning an intense 27-lap battle with his main championship rival Sete ...
Rossi Takes World Title With Win Number Eight in Australia
Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha) secured the 2004 Riders' Championship today at Phillip Island after winning an intense 27-lap battle with his main championship rival Sete Gibernau (Honda). The win gives Yamaha its first title in the premier class since 1992, and Rossi has now won more victories in one season than any Yamaha rider in history.
Rossi reduced Gibernau's long-term lead from 1.195 seconds to almost nothing on the seventh lap of the 4.448km track. On lap 19 Rossi made a successful move up the inside at the first corner, but could not shake Gibernau immediately. Gibernau re-passed him on the first corner of lap 23.
Rossi, determined to be champion in true style, overtook again before Gibernau pushed to the front at Honda corner, as Rossi ran wide. The decisive move came when Rossi made a seemingly impossible and final pass on the inside going back into the entrance of Lukey Heights. He held on to take a magnificent victory, by 0.097seconds, and his fourth premier class title.
Aside from Rossi, in the 55-year history of Grand Prix racing only three riders, Giacomo Agostini, Mick Doohan and Mike Hailwood have won four or more consecutive premier class titles. Only six riders before Rossi have scaled the heights of taking four premier class titles throughout their entire careers.
Rossi's team-mate Carlos Checa finished in tenth after his own tough battle around the challenging Phillip Island circuit. Checa, fighting his way past the middle order, was 11th on lap 13, involved in a personal duel with his fellow Catalan Ruben Xaus (Ducati) for most of the race. He was a clear tenth, having been boxed in on the first lap from a fifth row grid position.
The final round of the championship takes place at Valencia on October 31, with the present championship table featuring Rossi on 279 points, Gibernau on 244 and Max Biaggi (Honda) on 197.
VALENTINO ROSSI (1st, 41'25.819s)
"Today was a fantastic finish to a fantastic championship. This track is great and today there was a hard battle until the last lap. In some parts I was faster than Gibernau and some other places slower. I was sure of my feeling on the bike though. I made a bit of a bad start but wanted to stick with Sete. I managed to pass him early on in the race but he came back, and then at the end it became a great battle again. The last lap was a lot of fun for everybody watching it. I want to say thanks to everyone who has worked so hard, to Yamaha and all my team. It was fantastic, thank you. I think this year has been my best championship winning year."
CARLOS CHECA (10th, 41'47.064s)
"The start was difficult because there were so many bikes in front, so I had to close the throttle, and then lost some places. This was a race I was never going to win. I knew that from the beginning as I was starting from the back. If I had had a better start I would have been able to stay with the second group. I had good fun sometimes with Xaus and that made it more interesting. Riding alone is not so exciting, especially in tenth position. I am looking forward to having a better race in Valencia."
DAVIDE BRIVIO - TEAM DIRECTOR
"This is like a dream come true for us all. Like a movie with the best-ever storyline. If we wrote a script it could not have been better or more exciting. It was a hard job for all our engineers and Yamaha took a big risk supporting Valentino in this challenge. This was also a big motivation for everyone and our engineers were obviously just waiting for the opportunity to show what they can do."
JEREMY BURGESS -- VALENTINO ROSSI'S CREW CHIEF
"The target was the championship and we've got it. We made a decision after the warm up to change the bike and run a harder rear tyre. I think it was vindicated by the win. I think we always expect to win but you have to win enough races to win a championship. We approached it one race at a time and it has been a very good year."