Valentino Rossi moved two races clear at the top of the championship with his fifth win of the season today, enjoying an easy ride home after his closest rival Casey Stoner crashed out on lap seven.
Rossi, starting from second, lost some time at the first corner getting past John Hopkins and for the first couple of laps Stoner looked in danger of clearing off, but the Italian soon found his rhythm and was gradually making up time on the Australian when he saw him slide off into the gravel. The pair had already opened out an impressive gap from the chasing pack and Rossi was left to race the remaining 15 laps alone and unchallenged, eventually coming home 15 seconds clear of Toni Elias. The seven-time world champion's 67th premier-class victory takes him within one race of the all-time premier-class record, held by his compatriot Giacomo Agostini.
Rossi is now 50 points clear of Stoner with Pedrosa 15 points off in third, whilst Lorenzo's six points see him remain fourth in the standings, ten points ahead of Andrea Dovizioso.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 1 Time: 43'28.841, "I was confident today because my bike was fast from Friday practice, and with Jeremy we made a small modification to the front after warm-up to allow me to be a bit faster in some sections, and it worked very well. I lost about half a second getting past Hopkins at the start and Casey was incredibly fast at that stage, like he'd already done ten laps! For a short time I was worried but then, after two laps, I understood that my bike was working very well and that I was fast enough to try to catch him. I had closed a little bit already and gradually the red bike was becoming a bit bigger in front of me, and I think this is when he started to push harder and made his mistake. I was anticipating a very hard battle if I did catch him, so when I saw the red bike slide out I could hardly believe it - this made things a lot easier for me! After that I just enjoyed riding my bike; my Bridgestone tires worked very well until the end and my M1 felt very good. Of course I can't count this as a complete victory because Casey fell, and I am sorry for him, but this is racing and I have to be happy with this result. We are 50 points clear which is a lot and I am very excited to be going to Misano in this situation. However we know that 50 points is still not always enough when you have someone as strong as Casey and so we won't relax. Now we have two days of testing and we will try some new electronics in order to help me open the throttle earlier and also, of course, test some Bridgestone tires."
Davide Brivio - Team Manager, "of course this is a very important victory for us and we're very happy today. It's clear that Valentino did a very good job at the start not to let Stoner get too far ahead, and he was starting to make up ground and put some pressure on him when he unfortunately crashed. Of course this made our job a lot easier! We need to keep going like this and not lose our concentration, but we've had two very good races and we are confident that we are in good shape. We have two days of testing now which will be very important for the final six races, and then we go to another home race at Misano and try to make up for last year!"