Valentino Rossi defends Laguna overtakes

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Valentino Rossi protested his innocence as he came in for a wave of criticism from MotoGP adversary Casey Stoner following their thrilling Laguna Seca scrap.

Stoner hit out at Rossi for being too aggressive with his overtaking moves, but the 29-year-old denied any risky passes as he stretched his points lead to 25 over Stoner going into the summer break.

“After a battle like this with all the pressure and the emotion of the race it is quite normal. But you know everybody makes his race and also my style in racing is to try to never give up and I think it is possible to try to win.

“For sure the overtaking we made was quite aggressive, but we never touched each other at all and for me it was fair,” said the factory Yamaha rider, who claimed his first win in America after Stoner crashed out of second on lap 24.

“It is very exciting because we know that to win we have to be perfect from the start where during the season we had some problems because we know that Stoner is very fast.

“I did a great start and I felt confident with the bike. I was very strong in braking andthere was some hard overtaking. But it was fun, like the old style race. This is the first victory in America for me and twenty-five points are very important.

“I have a good advantage but it is not amazing. And now after the break we have the Brno race where last year Stoner was very fast. So we have to work and we have to try to go faster because last year was a disaster for us.

“After we arrive in Misano and last year I also had a lot more problems. So the championship is completely open, but today I make more points than 2007 season already and I have seven races to go.

“And 212 points means that except for the mistake in Assen, I’m always very fast. So I think we are strong and we are ready for the battle.”


Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt