Motegi MotoGP Reaction: Valentino Rossi regains world crown
Valentino Rossi won his first MotoGP world title since 2005 today to give Yamaha the premier class crown on home soil at the Twin Ring Motegi.
Once Rossi passed out-going world champion Casey Stoner on lap 14, the 29-year-old never looked in any danger of failing to claim a 70th MotoGP victory to wrap up his eighth world title.
Rossi, who started the 24-lap race with a massive 87-point lead over Ducati rival Stoner, was only fifth at the end of the first lap but his charge began immediately as he carved his way by Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo and Nicky Hayden on the second lap.
He moved by Dani Pedrosa with a clinical pass on lap five and having shadowed Stoner for eight laps, he moved into the lead on lap 14 and was never threatened again by his Aussie rival.
Rossi said: “It’s a great victory and a great achievement; I think it’s at the same level as the first title in 2004 with Yamaha, maybe even better! This championship has been very long and hard and all of the team and all of Yamaha have worked very well, never giving up for one moment.
"We have been able to put a great bike onto the track in all conditions and at all circuits, and this has allowed me to ride like this and to win so many races. I am very happy! The race was a great battle and I had to ride at 100 per cent, like I have through all through the season! Pedrosa and Stoner today were very strong and it was fun to fight with them like this, I am happy that it was a good race for the fans.
"It was a fantastic feeling to take the title with a win, like I did in 2001 and 2004. I think this is the hardest I have ever had to work to w in a world championship and I have to say a huge thank you to Yamaha, my mechanics, the team and everyone involved for working this hard alongside me.
"Of course I also have to say a special thank you to Bridgestone, they have done a great job with the tyres all season and the decision to be with them has been a big part of our success this season. We have lost for two years and I don’t think I was the favourite this season, but we have shown that we are a great team and that we never give up.
"I am so happy that I have now won three titles with Yamaha because this is how many I won with my last team and I want Yamaha to have the same merit – I am a Yamaha rider and I feel different with Yamaha than with anyone else before – I hope we will have more together! Now I have to get used to being world champion again!”