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August 17, 2009

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Rossi storms home as Lorenzo crashes

WORLD champion Valentino Rossi of Italy won the Czech MotoGP yesterday for the second year in a row after his Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo of Spain crashed out late in the race.

Spanish rider Dani Pedrosa took second, finishing nearly 12 seconds behind with another Spaniard and Honda teammate Toni Elias third to round out the podium.

Rossi and Lorenzo finished one-two in qualifying, setting up an eagerly-anticipated race between the two leading world title challengers on a warm clear day in front of around 138,000 spectators in Brno.

Rossi took an early lead with Lorenzo pushing him furiously until the Spaniard leaned too far into a turn and crashed out, leaving it to the Italian to easily cruise to victory on the 5.4-kilometer course.

Rossi said a few adjustments made him more comfortable with his bike and allowed him to fend off Lorenzo, who was faster in morning practice. It was Rossi's 160th podium finish.

"From that moment on it was a lot more relaxed," Rossi said of his teammate's exit. "I enjoyed the track like a tourist in the last five laps."

The victory extended the Italian's overall title lead to 50 points over Lorenzo and put more pressure on third-placed Casey Stoner of Australia, who is out for the next three races while he recovers from a virus.

Rossi has 212 points, followed by Lorenzo on 162 and Ducati's Stoner with 150. Pedrosa now stands fourth on 135 points.


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