Valentino Rossi equalled Giacomo Agostini’s record of 68 premier class victories in Misano today, taking a huge step towards an eighth world title in the process.
With Casey Stoner making another costly error as the Aussie crashed out of the lead, Rossi was left to claim his third straight win in front of a jubilant home crowd 51,000 fans.
The Italian, who now leads the series by 75 points with only five races remaining, said: “Today is a truly fantastic day and I can’t believe that I have matched Agostini’s record! He was one of my heroes so it’s quite incredible to have made it to 68 wins.
"This was quite a difficult weekend for us from the start and there has been the added pressure of a home race, which makes it harder to concentrate because there is so much distraction! Mugello has always been ‘my’ track, even though it’s further away from Tavullia, but here, after the bad time last year, we haven’t found it so easy.
"Once again today however my team gave me a very competitive bike and I felt very confident. I got a good start but then Dani came past me very fast and I then lost a lot of time getting past him and had to take some big risks – I had a big slide!
"Once I was past him I could see Casey, although I have to admit that today I wasn’t as confident as I was in Brno that I could win. Anyway I kept pushing because it’s not in my nature to ride for second place and I think it still could have been a battle; I was very fast once I found my rhythm.
"Then I saw Casey slide out. I’m sorry for him once again but this is very good for our championship so I am happy for our team. We have 75 points, which is a lot, but there are still five races and I will ride to win at every one, as I always have done throughout my career.
"Thanks to my fantastic Yamaha team, to Bridgestone and of course congratulations to Jorge as well, he kept pushing me today and I wasn’t able to relax even for one minute! It is a great day for us all.”