China MotoGP reaction: Valentino Rossi ends winless streak

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Valentino Rossi ended his long-running barren spell with his first victory on Bridgestone tyres in China today.

Rossi ended his seven race losing streak in dominant fashion as he fended off a strong challenge from title rival Dani Pedrosa to claim his 89th career victory.

The Fiat Yamaha rider slipped back to fourth in the early stages but passed Ducati’s Casey Stoner on the second lap and then moved into second place when he moved by former team-mate Colin Edwards.

Rossi took the lead from Repsol Honda rider Pedrosa on the fifth lap and it was a lead he never surrendered as he moved to within nine-points of the series leader, with Pedrosa leading as he maintained his 100 per cent podium record in 2008.

 “After seven races it is a great feeling to win again; I am very happy! This is a very important result for us because above all I was able to ride exactly how I wanted from start to finish and this was great fun for me.

“I had a great battle with Pedrosa and he pushed me hard and to be doing 1:59s until the end was unbelievable! All weekend we were hoping the rain wouldn’t come so when we saw it this morning we were quite disappointed, then it started to dry out so we were praying that it would dry completely; we were lucky today!

“We worked very well with Bridgestone and together with their technicians we made a late tyre change and it was the right choice because my tyre worked very well until the end, as my times showed! It’s the first win for us with Bridgestone so this is a great moment also for this reason and I want to say thank you to them.

“We were fast from Friday morning here and step by step we’ve found the perfect set-up and today the hard work paid off for everyone. We’ve had four races and four different winners so this shows how close the championship is, now we need to keep going because our rivals are all very near. (Jorge) Lorenzo did a great race today.”

Rossi’s victory means there have now been four different winners in four races in 2008 from three different manufacturers and two tyre companies.

Rossi added: “I think it’s so interesting this championship. And now we have one victory each and we are four strong rivals with a great level of speed.

“We have to work day by day, step by step because every race have a different story. But anyway, now we take this result and we are so happy because we were so strong today.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt