Brno MotoGP: Valentino Rossi cruises to crucial win

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Valentino Rossi punished Casey Stoner’s rare mistake to the maximum to take a giant step towards claiming his first MotoGP world since 2005 today.

With Stoner crashing out of the lead on lap seven, factory Yamaha rider Rossi was left to cruise to his fifth win of 2008, and crucially it moved him 50-points clear of the Aussie with only six races remaining.

The Italian, who now needs just one victory to equal Giacomo Agostini’s all-time premier class victory tally of 68, said: “I was confident today because my bike was fast from Friday practice, and with Jeremy (Burgess) we made a small modification to the front after warm-up to allow me to be a bit faster in some sections, and it worked very well.

"I lost about half a second getting past (John) Hopkins at the start and Casey was incredibly fast at that stage, like he’d already done ten laps! For a short time I was worried but then, after two laps, I understood that my bike was working very well and that I was fast enough to try to catch him.

"I had closed a little bit already and gradually the red bike was becoming a bit bigger in front of me, and I think this is when he started to push harder and made his mistake. I was anticipating a very hard battle if I did catch him, so when I saw the red bike slide out I could hardly believe it – this made things a lot easier for me!

"After that I just enjoyed riding my bike; my Bridgestone tyres worked very well until the end and my M1 felt very good. Of course I can’t count this as a complete victory because Casey fell, and I am sorry for him, but this is racing and I have to be happy with this result.

"We are 50 points clear which is a lot and I am very excited to be going to Misano in this situation. However we know that 50 points is still not always enough when you have someone as strong as Casey and so we won’t relax.

"Now we have two days of testing and we will try some new electronics in order to help me open the throttle earlier and also, of course, test some Bridgestone tyres.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt