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Top ten historic moments of 2004: no. 10

Top ten historic moments of 2004: no. 10

Top ten historic moments of 2004: no. 10

Valentino Rossi became the first rider to win the MotoGP World Championship on a Yamaha since Wayne Rainey in 1992 in the penultimate round of the season at Phillip Island. Rossi completed an amazing first year with the Japanese factory after a controversial switch from their great rivals Honda with an exciting victory over Sete Gibernau, his only remaining title challenger, which went right to the final corner.

Rossi became only the second rider in history to win the championship with different manufacturers in consecutive seasons behind Eddie Lawson and has broken Lawson and Rainey's joint record of seven wins in a season for Yamaha.

"This is a fantastic day for us, we didn't expect this," said Rossi, who added to three previous MotoGP titles as well as the 125cc and 250cc crowns, after the race.

"It was a hard battle, Sete was very fast today but in the end I won. From the very beginning we have worked hard to put the Yamaha M1 at the top and we have achieved it today. I would like to say thanks to everybody at Yamaha for all their hard work."

Rossi's joy came at the end of a hard-fought race which saw Loris Capirossi take the holeshot before an aggressive move from Gibernau gave him the lead on the first lap. Rossi was passed by Troy Bayliss for third place and had to work hard to recover ground on the Ducati pair, overtaking them both in one stunning move on the first lap. Gibernau made his break at the front but, with Rossi now on course for the title second place, needed another rider to join in at the front.

Alex Barros provided brief hope, passing Capirossi for third place as Bayliss lost touch and charging towards the pair at the front. However, the Brazilian struggled with rear grip problems in the second half of the race and couldn't maintain his pace, eventually dropping back to fifth behind Capirossi and Colin Edwards.

Gibernau had no choice but to try and force Rossi into a mistake and rode bravely to the end, conceding first place on lap nineteen but staying in touch and recovering the lead five laps from the end. The Spaniard held on until the final lap but Rossi was determined to celebrate his title in style, recovering superiority two corners from the end and clinching victory by 0.097 seconds.

Other fact's about Rossi historic ride at Phillip Island:

> It was Rossi's 100th podium from 139 starts in the three different classes of Grand Prix racing. Only five riders in the 56-year history of Grand Prix racing have stood on a Grand Prix podium more frequently than Valentino Rossi.

> Rossi's victory was his eighth of the year – the highest number of wins in a season for any Yamaha rider in history (he would go on to make it nine in the final round at Valencia).

> Rossi became the seventh rider to take four or more premier-class World Championships. Giacomo Agostini has won the most with eight, followed by Mick Doohan with five and then Geoff Duke, Mike Hailwood, Eddie Lawson and John Surtees with four.

MotoGP, 2005

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