Defending world champion Valentino Rossi claimed his seventh MotoGP title in a thrilling race in wet conditions on Sunday at the Malaysian MotoGP.
Australian Casey Stoner won the race but the 30-year-old Italian secured the title by coming in third on his Yamaha. Spain’s Dani Pedrosa was second.
Rossi said he was delighted to seal the championship title with one race to go, in Valencia on November 8.
”With one round to go, I have clinched the world title. I thank all the people who helped me achieve this. We did some great fighting,” he said.
Heavy rain delayed the start of the race by 35 minutes and played a major part when the action finally got under way.
Rossi started on pole but failed to hold his lead and went wide into the first corner with a pack of riders, led by Pedrosa and Stoner, who had overtaken him with ease.
Stoner, fresh from victory at Phillip Island in Australia, passed Pedrosa and never looked back, winning with ease.
The 2007 champion here in Sepang, Stoner came home in 47 minutes 24, 834 seconds, while Pedrosa was adrift at 14,666sec and Rossi narrowly behind him. Rossi’s Yamaha teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, was fourth.
”I got a good start,” said Stoner, who began in the second row on the grid.
”I did not expect to pull such a gap. I am happy with the pace. I am looking forward to the race in Valencia,” he said.
Pedrosa admitted that it was tricky to keep second position with Rossi snapping at his heels.
”It was a tough race until the end because Rossi was pushing me hard,” he said. — AFP