Valentino Rossi put in a faultless display to claim his fifth win of the season at Brno today, 13 years almost to the day after he took the first of his 102 Grand Prix wins. The Italian’s 160th career podium also moves him ahead of Giacomo Agostini to top the all-time podium list. It was a devastating day for his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, as the Spaniard crashed out with just five laps to go when sparring with Rossi at the front.
A stunning day in the Czech Republic saw 130,000 fans make the trip to watch what was expected to be another thrilling duel between the Yamaha pair. Rossi got a great start from pole position but Lorenzo, starting alongside him, dropped a couple of positions and had to battle back to take third first time around. On lap four the Mallorcan moved past Dani Pedrosa to claim second and he and Rossi gradually began to clear a gap from Pedrosa and the chasing pack.
The middle part of the race was largely uneventful, with Rossi retaining a more or less consistent gap of about half a second from his team-mate, but just after the half way point Lorenzo improved his rhythm and suddenly started to look threatening. The two were by now pushing each other hard, lapping nearly two seconds faster than the other riders and on lap 17 Lorenzo made his move, passing Rossi early on to claim the lead and set the fastest lap of the race. The crowd was gearing up for a tense finale but on the next lap Lorenzo made a mistake in braking, ran wide and lost the front, sliding into the gravel to leave Rossi 14 seconds clear at the front. All the 30-year-old had to do then was bring his M1 safely home which he duly did, easing up to cross the line 11.766 seconds ahead of Pedrosa, with Toni Elias back in third.
Another 25 points for Rossi and zero for Lorenzo means he is now 50 points clear at the top of the championship, whilst Lorenzo stays second, 12 points ahead of the absent Stoner and 27 ahead of Pedrosa. The next stop for the team is the Indianapolis Grand Prix in two weeks time.
Valentino Rossi Speaks… (Position: 1st Time: 43’08.991)
"This is a very important victory for us! Jorge had shown all weekend that he was very strong and, when we still weren’t feeling perfect after the warm-up, we decided to make one more small modification to improve the feeling with the front and the result was brilliant; my Yamaha really flew today. I got a good start and I was able to ride exactly how I wanted, using all of the track to get the best lines. At the end, when Jorge passed me, I thought that the fight was starting and I was really ready for it, but then he made a mistake and crashed. Of course I’m sorry; it’s really bad for him but I have to say that it’s great for us because now we have an advantage of 50 points with six races to go. However it would be very stupid to relax now because Jorge is very strong and for sure we expect another hard fight with him in Indianapolis. Today I arrived at the top of the all-time podium list and I’m very proud of this, especially here at Brno where I took my first victory 13 years ago! Thanks to Yamaha and my team for today, it was a great win."
Jorge Lorenzo Speaks… (Position: DNF)
"I got a bad start and had to get by some people, and then I just didn’t have the same pace that I’d had all weekend. I was slower than in the practices and it really wasn’t what I was expecting. Unfortunately for me Valentino was just as strong as he’d been all weekend and I had to push very, very hard to stay with him. Towards the end I began to close the gap and after I passed him I was doing everything to stay in front, but then I made a mistake and crashed. There’s nothing more I can say except that I’m so sorry to the team and to Yamaha and I will do everything I can to make it up in America."
Davide Brivio Speaks… (Rossi Team Manager)
"We’re very sorry for Jorge today, because we were all hoping for another exciting battle in the final laps and I am sure it would have been a great show for the public. Today Valentino rode like a magician and again the Yamaha has been shown to be the best bike on the track. A big thanks to all the team for their work because once again they were able to provide Valentino with a bike that he was very comfortable on and happy with. Now we have a 50-point advantage but we can never stop pushing because I am sure that at the next race Jorge will be out for revenge! We are looking forward to meeting our friends from Yamaha Motor US again this year and we want to continue with the same rhythm and performance in America. Tomorrow we have a day’s testing and we will start on our development for 2010, giving Valentino the chance to try a new chassis and a new engine specification as potential solutions for next year’s bike."
Danielle Romagnoli Speaks… (Lorenzo Team Manager)
"Today was a great disappointment because after such good practice sessions we had high hopes for a great race. Of course Jorge’s target today was to try to beat Valentino in order to close the gap in the standings and so he was doing everything he could. He got past him but Valentino was still very close behind, putting a lot of pressure on Jorge and unfortunately he made a mistake and crashed. It will be another important lesson for him and we are confident that he will learn from it continue to be just as fast and to keep improving. He’s got many more races to show his potential so now we will get back to work with a day’s testing tomorrow and make sure we’re in the best shape possible for Indianapolis."
1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda
3. Toni Elias (SPA) San Carlo Honda Gresini
4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda
5. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
6. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team
7. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
8. Alex De Angelis (RSM) San Carlo Honda Gresini
9. James Toseland (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
10. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP
11. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
12. Niccolo Canepa (ITA) Pramac Racing
13. Gabor Talmacsi (HUN) Scot Racing Team MotoGP
Mika Kallio (FIN) Ducati Marlboro Team
Marco Melandri (ITA) Hayate Racing Team
Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team
Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Pramac Racing
1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team
3. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team
4. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda
5. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
6. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda
7. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP
8. Marco Melandri (ITA) Hayate Racing Team
9. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
10. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
11. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team
12. Toni Elias (SPA) San Carlo Honda Gresini
13. Alex De Angelis (RSM) San Carlo Honda Gresini
14. James Toseland (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
15. Mika Kallio (FIN) Ducati Marlboro Team
16. Niccolo Canepa (ITA) Pramac Racing
17. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Grupo Francisco Hernando
18. Yuki Takahashi (JPN) Scot Racing Team
19. Gabor Talmacsi (HUN) Scot Racing Team MotoGP
Brno: Record Lap
J. Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2009, 1’56.670
Brno: Best Lap
V. Rossi (Yamaha) 2009, 1’56.145