News Report 28 September 2008

2008 MotoGP Japan - Motegi

View results Track information
Twin Ring Motegi
4801 m
att 50000
09 / 28 / 2008
Time to be confirmed

Rossi takes eight World Title with home win for Yamaha


Valentino Rossi rode a perfect race to win Yamaha’s home Grand Prix in Japan today, claiming the 2008 MotoGP World Championship title in the process. In doing so the 29-year-old Italian became only the second rider in history to recapture the title after two years, the other being Giacomo Agostini, whose all-time victory record Rossi surpassed at the last race in Indianapolis.
This is Rossi’s third title with Yamaha, his sixth in the premier class and eighth in total in a career spanning 12 years.
His team-mate Jorge Lorenzo finished a fighting fourth and today’s results also secured the triple crown of Rider, Manufacturer and Team titles for Yamaha and the Fiat Yamaha Team.

Rossi slipped some places at the start and was in fifth first time around. He soon found his rhythm however as his Bridgestone tyres warmed up and he passed Lorenzo and Nicky Hayden on the next lap before settling in behind Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, the three contesting the next four laps within a few tenths of a second of one another. On lap six both Rossi and Stoner got by Pedrosa and from then on the Italian was on his championship rival’s tail, determined to find a way to pass him and win the race despite the title being his with a podium finish.
With ten laps to go Rossi did just that and it was then a straight run to the finish as he pulled away from Stoner, crossing the line 1.943 seconds and 92 championship points ahead to seal a very special title after two barren years.

Rossi has won eight races this season and, with three remaining, he is still in with a chance of matching the 11 he won in his second season with Yamaha in 2005. Today’s win was his 70th in the premier class, his 96th in total and his 148th career podium.
Valentino Rossi - Position:1st, Time:43'09.599
“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%, 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 win 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!”

Davide Brivio - Team Manager;
“Simply amazing! Every time he surprises us. We’ve already been working together for five years and what he can deliver on the track is always unbelievable. This year is another demonstration of how strong Valentino is, especially to come back to this level of performance after two very hard years. We knew we had to improve the bike and make it faster after last year and Yamaha have done this, but Valentino worked very hard in the winter too and, together with Bridgestone, we were able to start very strongly and get better as the season progressed.
2006 and 2007 made everyone stronger, including the relationship between Valentino and Yamaha; we knew that we didn’t want to be in this situation again and so this has been a great motivation for this victory. Congratulations to Valentino, to all the team and Yamaha engineers, and thank you to Bridgestone, Fiat and all of our sponsors and partners. Congratulations also to Jorge’s team and to Tech 3, they have all played a big part in winning the Triple Crown.”
Jorge Lorenzo just missed out on a podium at Motegi today, finishing fourth after a hard fight with Dani Pedrosa. His team-mate Valentino Rossi won the race to take his eighth world championship title and Yamaha and the Fiat Yamaha team also secured the Team and Manufacturer’s titles, both of which Lorenzo has played a significant part in during his rookie season.

After dominating qualifying, the young Spaniard was looking forward to being able to fight for the win today but much lower temperatures made things harder for him and he was unable to keep up quite the same pace as he had yesterday. He slipped to fourth at the start, was relegated to fifth by Rossi on his charge to the front on the second lap and then took six laps to pass Nicky Hayden to regain fourth. The determined rookie was then 1.6 seconds from third-placed Pedrosa but he put his head down and pushed as hard as he could to bring himself into touching distance for a showdown on the last lap.
Lorenzo made his move at the hairpin but was unable to make it past Pedrosa today and had to settle for fourth and 13 points, leaving him 40 points adrift of his fellow Spaniard, who is third in the championship, with three rounds remaining.

Jorge Lorenzo - Position:4th, Time:+6.165
“I am very happy with this fourth position; it was impossible to do more today. I tried so hard to pass Dani and the hairpin before the back straight was the only place I had the chance, but I couldn’t do it. Yesterday I thought I had a chance to win and I was very confident, but this morning I saw the weather, much colder and yesterday, and I knew that it would be more difficult than in the qualifying session.
The track was colder and for Michelin and for me this was more difficult. I have to improve my starts because once again I had problems and lost some places, but anyway I think I’m in good form for the last three races. The team worked very well this weekend, as always, so thanks to them and to Michelin. Big congratulations to Valentino and the other side of the box, to do what he has done is almost impossible! Finally well done to everyone for winning the Team’s and Manufacturer’s titles as well, I am so happy that I have played a part in this during my first season with Yamaha.”

Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager
“Obviously, after yesterday’s qualifying, we hoped for a better result, but today Jorge did the best he could. He rode in a very fast and aggressive way but the weather, with the colder ground temperature, didn’t help us and we achieved as much as we were able. Many thanks to the team for their work because the bike setting was very good, but we do need to work on our race start.
Congratulations to Valentino for the world championship title, won so far in advance, but we are also happy about the ‘triple crown’ of Team and Manufacturer’s titles because we have played an important role in these titles.”
Takashi Kajikawa - President and CEO Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.
"It gives me great pleasure to announce today that Valentino Rossi has reclaimed the championship title in MotoGP after two years of unfortunate near misses, and that we have also achieved the ultimate goal of adding the team and constructor titles to win the coveted “triple crown” in this premier class of international road racing. For us at Yamaha Motor Company, this great achievement is especially great because it comes at our home GP here in Japan.

"We owe this great achievement to Valentino Rossi, who won the championship today, as well as to Jorge Lorenzo, who won his first victory earlier this year in his first season in the MotoGP, and to Colin Edwards and James Toseland, who also rode hard throughout the season and won points on the Yamaha YZR-M1.
"I want to take this occasion to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of the people who have made this achievement possible, including not only the team members who have worked so hard to realize it but also the Yamaha fans around the world who have cheered them on consistently through the season and the sponsors who have supported them so generously.

"At Yamaha Motor Company, we believe that the racing arena is more than just a stage for technological development. It is also a theatre that helps nurture employee skills and traits such as the spirit of challenge that we value so much. For these reasons, racing has been an important symbol of our corporate culture that we have continued to pursue actively throughout our history., I also believe firmly that racing is a challenge that helps us bring Kando to many people around the world.
"I hope that everyone will continue to give us their support in this ongoing challenge."
Tech 3 perform well in Yamaha's home race

Capitalising on a strong start from the third row of the grid, Tech 3 rider Edwards reeled off a series of consistently fast lap times to mount a serious assault on the top six in the second half of the race. The American managed to claw back a three second deficit on Loris Capirossi to shadow the Italian from lap 12 onwards.
Edwards exerted intense pressure on the Italian, winner of the last three races at the challenging Twin Ring Motegi circuit, and he cut the gap to Capirossi by 0.5s in the last two laps. But Edwards had to settle for seventh, a result which is still a big confidence boost with today’s 24-lap race his best result since the Dutch GP at Assen in June. He moved back into the top six in the overall standings ahead of Chris Vermeulen.
Team mate James Toseland also rode a strong race in front of an appreciative crowd of 57,865 fans as he was embroiled in a nail-biting battle with John Hopkins. Toseland rode superbly to keep his more experienced rival at bay for 15 laps before he slipped to 11th on the last lap.
Today’s result saw the Tech 3 Yamaha squad remain firmly in the hunt for fourth place in the Team World Championship.

Colin Edwards: Position:7th, Time;+25.918
“I got a good start and settled in behind Valentino and Jorge at the first corner and I was happy because I’ve been caught up in a couple of incidents there in the past. I threw it in and then I just saw this front wheel staring straight at me. It was Dovizioso but luckily we all made through but the first lap I was just trying to get some heat into the rear tyre. I got it working and got into a good pace and saw that Loris was coming back to me.
I was pushing hard but I was having a few issues with the rear spinning, which has been a problem all weekend. But then Loris made a mistake and he was right out to the kerb at the first corner. He was nearly in the dirt and I was right on his tail. I was behind him for what seemed like forever but it was fun. I could almost reach out and touch his back wheel but I couldn’t do anything to get by him. Loris’s bike was really good coming off the corner. It obviously has some bottom grunt because all I could do was watch him and I couldn’t do anything with him.
I couldn’t get close enough to out-brake him and with the spinning problem I couldn’t get any acceleration grip out of the corner to line him up for a pass. I put my head down and I was riding as hard as I could, but with the spinning issue I was losing a bit of corner speed, so I was braking extra deep to keep all the weight on the front to run some momentum in the corner
Seventh is not where I want to be but it feels good to get a solid race under my belt. It feels forever since I did that, so it is something to build on for the last three races.”

James Toseland - Position:11th, Time:+37.574
“I gave it my all on every lap and I stayed consistent without making any mistakes. But with that lack of dry track time on Friday it cost me because I was only a couple of tenths slower than fifth position and that time you can find on a dry day with the set-up. But the guys in front were so consistent that I couldn’t really get close. One slight problem like a wet day makes it really difficult to get right on the pace.
I was with Colin and Shinya early on but I’d been playing with the rear shock all weekend to try and get some grip at full lean angle. It was the best it has been but I was still losing a lot of time on the exit and they were just pulling away from me a bit. And because it is so stop and start here, if you can exit the corners better it gives you a good advantage and you can pull a couple of tenths a lap. I really wanted tenth but John came underneath me at turn one on the last lap and I tried to pass him back in the second part of it down the straight. But he came back on my side and he put my clutch on. It slipped my clutch and he was just able to get a bit of an advantage.
I tried to get him back but he didn’t put a foot wrong for the rest of the lap. It’s disappointing to have worked so hard to keep that place and lose it at the end. At least now I can look ahead to three races where I know the tracks, so hopefully we can end the season on a high."

Herve Poncharal – Team Manager
"First of all I want to say very big congratulations to Yamaha and Valentino for such a great world championship success. Yamaha has a great bike with a great champion, and it is great for them to win the title in Yamaha’s home race. I’m also very happy with our performance today.
Colin did one of his best races of the season when you consider the recent run he has been on. He was pushing hard right to the end and he survived a lot of pressure from behind and at one stage we thought he might pass Loris and get a top six. I’m happy he climbed one position in the championship to get some points back on Suzuki in the team championship, so after the disappointment of Indianapolis and Misano I think we saw Colin back where he belongs.
James also rode a really strong race and he fought very hard as always. It was another hard weekend on his first time at this track, not helped again by losing some dry track time. I think both of them gave their maximum and that’s all we can ask and we can look forward to Australia now with high hopes of even better results.”