US MotoGP: Valentino Rossi beats Lawson, Rainey and Roberts in kart demo

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Less than a week after notching his 100th Grand Prix victory in Assen, Valentino Rossi’s winning streak continued today with the Italian ‘winning’ a special Superkart demonstration against American legends Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey and Kenny Roberts.
Driving specially prepped karts powered by Yamaha TZ250 engines, the quartet with an incredible 18 MotoGP world titles between them, completed a series of demonstration laps at the spectacular Laguna Seca circuit.
After a short delay when triple world champion Roberts’ kart suffered a technical problem on the second lap, a three-lap sprint was cut to just two laps.
Nobody appeared to have told eight-times world champion Rossi though, with the plan for all four to cross the finish line together for a special photograph.
Rossi however streaked away to win comfortably, the American legends sticking to the plan of crossing the line in tandem with Rossi well down the road.
Rossi’s beaming smile clearly showed he’d enjoyed the event as he took to the wheel of the Superkart normally raced by four-times 500cc world champion Lawson.
“I’m happy because for me now it is possible to say I beat Kenny Roberts, Wayne Rainey, and Eddie Lawson, so this is so important, “joked Rossi. “The kart was fun and to share the track with these great names of the past was fun and important. Before we started, Eddie came to me and said, ‘we go slowly, we stay all together behind Kenny to say ‘ciao’ to the crowd. And I say, OK, like an exhibition. I started slow from the pit but out of the first corner I was already alone. Everybody pushed a lot, so for the race I went full throttle.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt