Japanese GP: Bridgestone race report

Valentino Rossi crowned 2008 champion with Motegi win Bridgestone-shod Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi has today clinched the 2008 MotoGP World Championship title, winning the Japanese Grand Prix at the Motegi Twin Ring. The 25-points earned...

Valentino Rossi crowned 2008 champion with Motegi win

Bridgestone-shod Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi has today clinched the 2008 MotoGP World Championship title, winning the Japanese Grand Prix at the Motegi Twin Ring. The 25-points earned for his win takes Rossi to an unassailable 92 point lead in the series with just three races remaining. It is the second consecutive championship title for a rider using Bridgestone tyres after Ducati's Casey Stoner took the title in Motegi twelve months ago.

Rossi's victory today is his eighth of the season and the twelfth in total for a Bridgestone-shod rider, equalling the record number of Bridgestone-shod victories in a single season, which was set last year. It is the fifth consecutive Motegi win for Bridgestone following Makoto Tamada's win in 2004 and Loris Capirossi's three successes from 2005-2007, making it the most successful circuit for the tyre manufacturer on the MotoGP calendar.

For the second Japanese GP in a row, Bridgestone riders secured all three podium positions with Stoner taking a fine second place for Ducati and Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa taking his debut Bridgestone podium in third. It is the fourth 1-2-3 result for Bridgestone in the last six races after similar success in Germany, Laguna Seca and Brno.

The podium finishers were embroiled in an exciting three-way battle in the early stages of the race with Stoner and Pedrosa exchanging the lead for several laps before Rossi made his way past Pedrosa on lap 6 and then Stoner on lap 14. Rossi held on to the lead and ultimately took the chequered flag 1.9s ahead of Stoner, who increased his grasp of second place in the championship with another well-earned twenty points, setting the fastest lap of the race along the way. Pedrosa's third place takes him over the 200-point mark in the championship and gives him an increased buffer over fourth-placed Jorge Lorenzo.

Three additional Bridgestone riders finished in the top ten this afternoon with Loris Capirossi taking sixth place for Rizla Suzuki, Shinya Nakano finishing his home grand prix in eighth and John Hopkins rounding out the top ten for Kawasaki.

Osamu Inoue - Bridgestone Corporation - Senior Vice-President

"Congratulations to Valentino Rossi and Yamaha for securing the 2008 MotoGP World Championship with an impressive race win. For Bridgestone, we are delighted to secure our second consecutive Championship at our home grand prix at the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit. I would also like to send my sincerest congratulations to Ducati's Casey Stoner in 2nd place today, and Honda's Dani Pedrosa for his 3rd place finish. This is our fifth consecutive year of race wins at Motegi and it has been accomplished with an all-Bridgestone podium, so I am very thankful. Finally I would like to say thank you to all our teams and riders for their great effort, as well as to all the motorsport fans here in Motegi and all over the world."

Hiroshi Yasukawa - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport

"Congratulations to Valentino and to the Fiat Yamaha Team for today's exciting triumph and championship success. I am pleased that Bridgestone tyres have been able to help take the title for the second year in a row. Valentino has had a terrific season and he has taken some fantastic victories this year, including today's closely-fought win in our home grand prix. Ducati and Casey did another great job today as well to take second place, while Dani Pedrosa also performed well to take his first podium using Bridgestone tyres. All in all, we have a lot of positives to take away from today's race and more happy Motegi memories."

Valentino Rossi - Fiat Yamaha Team - Race Winner and 2008 MotoGP World Champion

"I feel very good with this title because the battle this year was very tough, especially with Stoner and Pedrosa. It was a long season with a lot of hard racing and hard battles. I'm so happy. In my career I've been lucky - I've won a lot of good and difficult championships, like the first one with Yamaha in 2004, but I think this one is the one I put most effort into trying to win. I have to say a great thank you to Yamaha, who worked a lot, to Bridgestone for their support, and to all my team. I think we deserve this championship. We were very strong every weekend and we were fast. I'm also happy because today was a great battle and a great race. I felt confident with the bike and to win the championship with a race win is fantastic."

Weather: Dry - Air 19o.C, Track 23o.C (Bridgestone measurement)

-credit: bridgestone

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Shinya Nakano , John Hopkins , Makoto Tamada , Jorge Lorenzo , Casey Stoner , Hiroshi Yasukawa , Dani Pedrosa