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October 26, 2009

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Home » Sports » Motorcycling

Rossi retains MotoGP title

ITALY'S Valentino Rossi clinched his second successive MotoGP world championship yesterday, finishing third at the Malaysian Grand Prix after a penalty forced title rival Jorge Lorenzo to start from the back of the grid.

Australia's Casey Stoner, riding a Ducati, excelled in wet conditions at the Sepang circuit outside Kuala Lumpur, snatching the lead from Honda's Dani Pedrosa on the first lap and then powering away from the Spaniard for a comfortable win.

Pedrosa finished in second place while Lorenzo, the only rider who had any hope of catching Rossi in the title race, finished a creditable fourth.

Lorenzo, who had qualified second behind Rossi, battled his way up the order but his efforts came to nothing as Rossi settled after an early error and came home safely to win his seventh premier class title and his fourth for Yamaha.

The victory was also Rossi's ninth motorcycling championship overall, including wins in the 125cc category in 1997 and 250cc title in 1999.

"It's a great achievement for me," a beaming Rossi, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a chicken and the No. 9, said. "And you know I have for all the season great rivals. At the end especially Jorge my teammate stayed very close to me. And we did some great, great fight."

Lorenzo, who crashed out at the first corner of the Australian Grand Prix last week, saw his slim championship hopes fade further even before the race began. Plagued with technical problems during warm-up before the rain-delayed race, he returned to the pit lane late and was made to start at the back of the grid for failing to take his starting position on time.

Rossi, however, looked loathe to take advantage of his teammate's misfortune and the Italian took the first corner too wide and fell back into the middle of the pack.

The mistake briefly re-ignited the title race, with Lorenzo passing Rossi and pushing his bike up through the field. But the Italian world champion gradually reeled in Lorenzo before crossing the line with a triumphant "wheelie".

The Italian has an insurmountable 286 points in the world title standings ahead of Lorenzo (245) and Stoner (220) before the final race in Valencia, Spain.


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