US MotoGP: Valentino Rossi extends title advantage with second

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Valentino Rossi stretched his world title lead to nine-points over Yamaha rival Jorge Lorenzo but was left to contemplate what might have been as he finished second in a dramatic conclusion to the American MotoGP.
Unable to run Dani Pedrosa’s surprisingly quick pace for most of the 32-lap encounter and having survived an attack from team-mate Jorge Lorenzo four laps from home, the Italian seemed certain to claim a comfortable second position.
But with Pedrosa inexplicably cruising on the final lap believing he had a big enough advantage to win his first race for 13 months, Rossi came close to pulling off an unlikely 101st victory.
Trailing by 1.573 at the start of the final lap, Rossi got within feet of mounting a last corner attack to inflict heartache on Repsol Honda’s Pedrosa.
The triple world champion though clung onto victory and Rossi was left to reflect on what might have been as he came within 0.3s of a third straight win in America.
The 30-year-old said: “Sincerely I didn’t expect Dani to be so strong today. But I understand quite early that he was fast because he got away quite easy in the first part of the race. It was quite difficult also for me today, especially the first half because I was not at 100 per cent with the setting. With did some modifications from this morning and I was not very happy. I couldn’t ride at my maximum with the front. But after lap by lap with a bit less fuel the feeling is better. I remained with Dani, maybe he was a little bit faster in some places, but more or less remain the gap stayed the same. But the last ten laps were thrilling because Jorge came back very strong and I had to push so hard to keep the advantage. We fight, we overtook each other and in the last lap I was pushing a lot. I see Dani slowing down and I arrived at the last corner very close, but unfortunately not close enough to try to overtake. I thought there was a chance to pass but it was too much of a risk. We have extended the championship lead so it’s a good result for us and we have shown that we are still strong this year even when things are not perfect. This consistency is the most important thing for the championship.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt