Valentino Rossi brought the curtain down on a spectacular season with a third place in Valencia today, his 16th podium from 18 races in a year which saw him win his eighth world title. The 29-year-old Italian has taken nine wins, five seconds and two thirds this year, surpassing the all-time premier class win record and the record for the most points in a season in the process. His outstanding performances this season also helped the Fiat Yamaha Team to secure the Teams' title and Yamaha the Manufacturers' title.
Rossi had struggled to find a good set-up for his M1 during yesterday's qualifying and he started from 10th on the grid. However some last-minute changes paid dividends and he was able to get a good start, climbing to seventh in the first lap and then making a characteristic charge through the field to move into third on lap six. Unfortunately from then on he was unable to make a dent in the gap to second-placed Dani Pedrosa and he had to settle for the final podium position, 12 seconds off winner Casey Stoner.
His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo secured the Rookie of the Year title with eighth place today, rounding off an eventful but impressive season for the 21-year-old. Both riders will be in action tomorrow as work for the 2009 season gets underway immediately with a two-day test at Valencia.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 3rd Time: +12.194. 'I don't think that was so bad today! Unfortunately we had some problems yesterday and that meant we had to start from the fourth row, which left us with a very difficult task. As always though we found a way and my team gave me a good bike, which meant I was able to get a great start and then have some fun passing people. Once I got to third there was no way to catch Dani and so it wasn't such an exciting race from then on. This has been an amazing season for us and to finish with another podium, the 16th, is great and we cannot complain. I am so happy with what we have done this year, as I said it's definitely one of my greatest championships and I want to thank everyone once again - Yamaha, my team, the engineers, Bridgestone and everyone who helped us to get this result. Tomorrow we will try the new bike which means we can't have as big a party as we would like, but it is important to try to find a base for it so I am looking forward to it.'
Davide Brivio - Team Manager. 'I think it would have been difficult to have done more than this today, because we were starting from the fourth row and the setting still wasn't perfect. Anyway it was a great end to the season and we scored another podium, making 16 in total, nine of the them wins. We have the triple crown and this all makes it a fantastic season. Thank you very much to Valentino first of all and then all the engineers in Japan, who have worked so hard, and to all the team members for this huge effort. Luckily we had a big party in Japan because tomorrow we start to think about 2009 and start to test, and it's going to be important to make the most of it and to give good information to the engineers about the new bike. But we will still have some celebrations tonight so let's all enjoy ourselves! Thanks again to everybody, it's been a wonderful season.'