Nobody can throw a championship celebration on track like Valentino Rossi, and when a live chicken wearing a crash helmet and a replica of Rossi’s leather riding suit was spotted on track at the Sepang International Circuit on Oct. 25, one thing was certain… Valentino Rossi was World Champion once again.
Rossi finished third in the Grand Prix of Malaysia to clinch his seventh MotoGP World Championship and his ninth title overall. He also won world titles in 125cc and 250cc. It was Rossi’s seventh title in the premier class in the last nine seasons.
Casey Stoner earned his second consecutive victory this season on his Ducati, and Dani Pedrosa finished second on his Repsol Honda Team machine in wet conditions.
But all eyes were on 2008 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Rossi after the race. A group of his friends presented him with a chicken sporting a miniature crash helmet and leathers and also gave him a large egg with the number 9 printed on it.
"It’s great to be World Champion again," Rossi said. "My celebration was because in Italy we say an old chicken makes good soup but can no longer lay eggs. I am like the old chicken – 30 years now – but I have made another egg. That’s nine!"
Scrambled eggs may have been more appropriate for Rossi early in the 21-lap race. A torrential downpour started 30 minutes before the race after an entire weekend of dry running. Teams scrambled at their best guess for a wet-weather setup.
Rossi dropped from pole to 10th in one lap. His Fiat Yamaha teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, started from the rear of the field after a technical problem on his pre-race warm-up lap but still managed to pass Rossi on the first lap.
But Rossi steadily worked his way back up the field to ride to the title in third, 19.385 seconds behind Stoner. 2009 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Lorenzo ended up fourth.
Stoner started fourth and held that position early on Lap 1, but he sliced past his tentative rivals. Stoner passed Pedrosa for the lead near the end of Lap 1 and never trailed thereafter, stretching his gap to 14.666 seconds at the finish.
American Nicky Hayden, the 2006 MotoGP World Champion, finished fifth on his Ducati. It was his third top-five finish of the season, with his best of third coming at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP.
It was a tough weekend for American Colin Edwards, who started ninth and finished 13th on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine. But he gained three points in his duel for fifth place with Andrea Dovizioso, who crashed out of the race.
Race results of the 21-lap Grand Prix of Malaysia MotoGP race, with position, rider, country, motorcycle, time behind winner. All riders on Bridgestone tires:
1. Casey Stoner Australia Ducati
2. Dani Pedrosa Spain Honda +14.666
3. Valentino Rossi Italy Yamaha +19.385
4. Jorge Lorenzo Spain Yamaha +25.850
5. Nicky Hayden United States Ducati +38.705
6. Chris Vermeulen Australia Suzuki +41.061
7. Toni Elias Spain Honda +48.555
8. Marco Melandri Italy Kawasaki +55.557
9. Loris Capirossi Italy Suzuki +1:00.303
10. Mika Kallio Finland Ducati +1:00.440
11. Aleix Espargaro Spain Ducati +1:01.655
12. Alex de Angelis San Marino Honda +1:01.847
13. Colin Edwards United States Yamaha +1:10.778
14. Gabor Talmacsi Hungary Honda +1:15.851
15. James Toseland Great Britain Yamaha +1:50.672
NC Andrea Dovizioso Italy Honda +7 laps
NC Randy de Puniet France Honda +20 laps
NC – Not classified
Fastest lap: Rossi, 2:13.694, Lap 14; Pole lap: Rossi, 2:00.518
The final race of the 2009 MotoGP season is the Grand Prix of Valencia on Nov. 8th.