/ 28 September 2008

Rossi takes world title with Japan MotoGP win

Italian Yamaha ace Valentino Rossi won his sixth world premier-class title on Sunday when he beat defending champion Casey Stoner in the Japanese Grand Prix.

Rossi overtook the Australian Ducati rider on the 14th of 24 laps and never looked back, taking the title with his eighth MotoGP win of the season in 43 minutes 09,599 seconds, with Stoner 1,943 seconds behind.

Honda rider Dani Pedrosa of Spain finished third 2,923 sec further back.

It was Rossi’s fifth straight GP win and his first MotoGP title in three years, after missing out to American Honda rider Nicky Hayden in 2006 and Stoner last year.

Rossi put a lock on the title with an unbeatable 92-point lead over Stoner with three races left in the season. A win is worth 25 points.

The 29-year-old, nicknamed ”The Doctor” for his meticulous planning and racing, won his first premier-class title, then the 500cc, riding for Honda in 2001.

He successfully defended his crown four straight times after the category was changed to the four-stroke MotoGP in 2002. He moved to Yamaha in 2004.

Stoner jumped from the second spot on the front row to go first around the bend on the 4.8km stop-and-go Twin Ring Motegi track under overcast skies.

But Pedrosa overtook him on the second lap, with Rossi trailing in their slipstream.

Then Stoner, who has won four GPs so far this year but missed the podium in the last three races, grabbed back the lead with Rossi in second on the sixth lap.

Rossi made the race his on lap 14, passing Stoner around the first corner and holding on to take the chequered flag and the title. — AFP.