News Report 15 September 2008
United States

2008 MotoGP Indianapolis - Indianapolis

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4186 m
09 / 14 / 2008
Time to be confirmed

Rossi comes through the deluge to make history at Indianapolis


Valentino Rossi wrote another chapter in his ever-expanding history book at Indianapolis today, claiming his 69th premier-class win and becoming the most successful rider in premier-class history in the process. His hat trick of pole position, fastest lap and race victory made for a perfect first Indianapolis Grand Prix for the Italian and a third place for Jorge Lorenzo rounded off an exceptional weekend for the Fiat Yamaha Team.

More bad weather in the early afternoon led to the 250cc race being abandoned and the early part of the MotoGP race was run on a very wet track. Rossi dropped to fourth at the start and then surrendered another place to Lorenzo on the next lap, but he soon found his rhythm and made his way back past Casey Stoner, Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso into second behind Nicky Hayden by lap six. Passing Hayden was no mean feat and it took the seven-time world champion another eight laps to finally get by the American, at which point he quickly began to pull away. Hurricane Ike was not finished with Indianapolis however and on lap 16 of 28 it started to rain heavily once again, accompanied by strong gusts of wind which became very dangerous. The race was eventually red-flagged after 20 laps and, after a few minutes confusion as to whether there would be a restart, Rossi was confirmed as the first ever MotoGP winner at the Brickyard.

Rossi’s 69th win takes him ahead of his fellow countryman Giacomo Agostini to the top of the all-time premier class winners list, a record which has stood for more than 30 years. Agostini claimed the 1975 500cc title with Yamaha and won six of his 68 victories with the Japanese factory.

Rossi is now 87 points clear of Stoner, who finished fourth today, which means he is able to win the championship at the next round in Motegi by finishing fourth or above.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 1 Time: 37'20.095
“This is fantastic because it’s been a long time since I won in the rain and even longer since I won four in a row! To win the first race here at Indianapolis is a great emotion and to beat Agostini’s record is also incredible, now I hope my record will stand for 30 years like his! It was an amazing race and, once I was able to pass Stoner, I knew I had the chance to win so I pushed very hard. I had a great race with Nicky; he was really hard to pass so congratulations to him. When the wind and rain came it became very hard, I think I could have kept going for another eight laps okay but there were things flying through the air – beer cans, plastic glasses – so really I think it was the right decision to stop the race! Sincerely I don’t think I’ve ever ridden in conditions like these and I was lucky because I was far in front and therefore didn’t have to take any big risks. It’s been a perfect weekend for us despite the weather because we made the pole position, the fastest lap and we won, so I want to congratulate my team once again for a fantastic job, today and all year. Also thanks to Bridgestone because my tyres were very good today. I’ve really enjoyed racing here in Indy and I am looking forward to coming back next year. Now we have a big advantage and it would be great to win the championship in Motegi, but it’s not over yet so we will keep our concentration and keep working! Finally I want to dedicate this victory to my Grandfather Dario, who sadly died today aged 82.”

Davide Brivio - Team Manager
“We’re very happy that we were able to race at this historic track, despite the terrible weather! This is very important for the championship and now we have the chance to try to win in Motegi in two week’s time. Valentino was fantastic today and he showed once again how strong he is this season; he has won seven times in many different conditions so we’re in good shape. Well done to the team for their hard work and congratulations to Jorge and his crew as well, Yamaha is very strong!”

First ever wet podium for Lorenzo in Indianapolis downpour

Jorge Lorenzo made the podium in a wet race for the very first time in his entire career today, claiming third place at the inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix at the famous ‘Brickyard’. The 21-year-old Spaniard has now finished on the podium on each of the five occasions he has qualified on the front row in his rookie season and he was joined once again by his Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi, who took his seventh victory of the season with a masterful display of wet-weather riding.

Lorenzo has always been uncomfortable riding in the wet but he got a good start and was quickly able to settle into his rhythm, passing Rossi, Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner in the first three laps. Rossi passed him back soon after but the Spaniard kept pushing and he soon got past Andrea Dovizioso to claim third place. He then rode most of the race out on his own until heavy rain and high winds began to batter the field with 12 laps remaining and he gradually began to close the gap to Nicky Hayden, who was in second. It looked like he might pass the American before the end but the race was eventually red-flagged with eight laps remaining, after part of the safety fence blew down and conditions became too dangerous.

A second podium in a row for the leading rookie consolidates fourth place in the championship for him, 37 points adrift of Dani Pedrosa with four races remaining. Rossi, who surpassed Agostini’s 30-year record of 68 premier class wins today, is now 87 points clear of Casey Stoner and can win the championship in Motegi by finishing fourth or better.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 3 Time: +7.858
“This is the first wet podium in my career, including the European, Spanish and even Mallorcan Championships! To be honest, I really didn’t want to leave my motorhome before the race because I was so warm and comfortable and I really don’t like to race in the rain, but today I think things have changed! I got a good start, which surprised me, and then I was able to pass Dani and then Valentino, which surprised me even more! I am so happy to finally discover that I can be fast in the rain as well. After Valentino passed me back I tried to follow him but he was a bit too fast so I concentrated on keeping my pace consistent, then the rain and especially the wind came and it was quite crazy! I was still fast though I closed the gap to Nicky, who I think had some problems by then, and maybe I could have passed him with some more laps but it was very dangerous and so better to stop the race. We are still not perfect but our bike and Michelin tyres were very good today so I want to thank Yamaha and Michelin again, and my team for their hard work. Well done to Valentino and I hope we can continue like this for the last four races.”

Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager
“This is a great result; a first podium in the wet for Jorge and at such a famous track. He rode very well today in difficult conditions, not only the rain but with high winds as well. He also had a very good pace at the end of the race when the conditions were at their worst so he did a great job, as did the team for finding the right set-up and Michelin for giving us the right tyres. It’s great to be on the first MotoGP podium at Indianapolis and great for Yamaha to have two riders on the podium for the second race in a row. Congratulations once again to Jorge for a fantastic ride, well done to the team and of course well done to the other side of the garage and to Valentino for another great win.”

Difficult day for Tech 3 Yamaha in stormy Indianapolis

The Tech 3 Yamaha team had a difficult day in atrocious conditions during a weather-hit inaugural Indianapolis MotoGP race today.

Texan Colin Edwards battled driving rain and fierce and unpredictable winds to claim 15th place, while British team-mate James Toseland couldn’t convert a promising early part of the 28-lap race into a point-scoring finish.

Edwards recovered several positions as his confidence grew in the tricky conditions to keep his place in the top seven in the world championship standings.

Toseland had a strong start and found himself eighth for the opening laps, fighting hard to remain in contention with the group battling for fifth place. But as rain abated and parts of the new circuit started to dry, he was unable to sustain his impressive early speed with the changing conditions not suited to the set-up of his Yamaha YZR-M1 machine.

He finished 18th in the shortened race, which was halted with eight laps remaining with conditions rapidly deteriorating from lap 15 onwards. A planned eight-lap restart was abandoned because of the high winds.
Colin Edwards – Position: 15 Time: +1'00.613
“We spent too much time trying to make a new setting work, and because we’d had so much time on it we went for it in the race. But I couldn’t get the bike to turn. My tyres felt great and I didn’t have a problem with them at all, but I couldn’t carry any corner speed. I’d get into the corner and I kept running wide. The only way to fix that is to go slower so you can hold the line and it wasn’t really fun out there. I thought I’d got a good start and I got behind a couple of guys but everybody seemed to check up. They were right in front of me and the next thing I know, six guys are flying around the inside and outside of me. I was almost last by the second corner and I just put my head down to try and make some progress but I couldn’t do anything. It is disappointing because I’m not out there not trying and running around in fifteenth. I’m out there trying my absolute hardest. The conditions were unbelievable. There was all kinds of debris at the end and you didn’t know if it was gong to hit you because the wind was so unpredictable. It was a smart decision to stop it and maybe it could have come a lap or two earlier.”
James Toseland – Position: 18 Time: +1'07.968
“I didn’t get off the line very well but I was a bit aggressive into the first turn and went round the outside and passed a few people. I felt pretty good but when it wasn’t raining and the track started to dry out, my lap times just stayed the same. And as it dried out everybody else got quicker and I couldn’t go any faster. It was spinning and obviously I was a bit too soft with the rear setting. I had the same tyre as Andrea Dovizioso, so it was obviously the setting. I know I was running a softer setting than Colin and Jorge. When it was quite wet at the start it was obviously pretty good, but as it dried out it was just spinning. When it rained again I found a bit of pace again and could so similar times to the people in front, but by that time I’d lost a lot of places. At the end the wind was unbelievable. And the problem was it wasn’t always in the same direction. It was totally unpredictable and it was gusting to the point where you had to anticipate something happening. They ran it for as long as they could but it was getting a bit hairy out there. It is a disappointing result but we’ll move onto Japan for the next race, where I am obviously hoping to give Yamaha a positive result.”

Herve Poncharal – Team Manager
“I am very disappointed with the race. We saw that a rider with our package has done really, really well. James started quite well but he started to lose a lot of ground while, Colin was again very cautious in the first laps like in Misano. When we remember what we were doing in the first part of the season and we see what we are doing now, I am not happy. We have to find some solutions because we shouldn’t be finishing where we are. “Looking at the race it was run in incredibly difficult conditions. There will be some debate about whether the race should have been restarted but with safety the prime concern, I think it was the right decision because the wind was playing a big part. It is a shame that the 250 race wasn’t run because the fans came to see all the races. But I’d like to thank everyone associated with the Indianapolis circuit. All the people who have worked with us have been trying tremendously hard to make this a fantastic weekend. Unfortunately the weather has played a big part and nobody deserved this. Finally, congratulations to Valentino for breaking the all-time winning record in MotoGP. It is an incredible achievement and great to see him do it riding for Yamaha.”