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Rossi regains MotoGP crown after two years away

Rossi regains MotoGP crown after two years away

New MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi was the happiest man in Motegi on Sunday afternoon, and compared his sixth crown to his first title for Yamaha.

`Scusate il ritardo´ (Eng: Sorry for the delay) was the phrase emblazoned on Valentino Rossi´s celebration t-shirt in Motegi, referencing the two-year wait to regain the MotoGP World Championship. There was no waiting around for the Italian in Motegi, as he clinched the title on the first available opportunity afforded by his premier class rivals.

The competition has been fierce for Rossi in 2008, as he emphasised after his 70th race victory and confirmation of a sixth MotoGP crown. The Fiat Yamaha rider –the only man to win 500cc, 990cc and 800cc titles- put the most recent triumph at the head of the accolades taken in his illustrious career, alongside his maiden championship win for the Japanese factory.

`For sure it is a great achievement, maybe at the level of 2004 when I first won the title with Yamaha,´ said Rossi after beating rivals Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa to the win at the A-Style Grand Prix of Japan.

`The battle was very hard and the season was very long, so I´m very happy. We worked very hard with Yamaha and with all the team to be able to put in good speed at every track, under every condition. The race today was a great battle, like it has been all season with Stoner and Pedrosa.´

Rossi´s race win –his first on a four-stroke machine at Motegi- came with the customary Fan Club-assisted celebration, this time involving a desk, a camera-pen and a commemorative helmet. For the new MotoGP World Champion, sharing the glory only added to the moment.

`This occasion is always an excuse to have a laugh and a bit of a party with my friends,´ beamed Rossi after his jovial act of revery, as always remaining elusive as to the meaning behind the showmanship.

The 2008 title in the bag, there will be little time to soak up the glory for the new champion. Preparations for the defence of the crown begins on Monday, with the first test of the 2009 M1 scheduled at Twin Ring Motegi. Rossi will be in attendance, but don´t expect him to be the first man to arrive at the track…

`Tomorrow I have a test, but I am fighting to make it start in the afternoon!´ concluded the 29 year-old, who could be permitted a party and a lie-in after the two-year wait for the title.

MotoGP, 2008, A-STYLE GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN, Valentino Rossi, Fiat Yamaha Team

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