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Title within touching distance for Rossi

Title within touching distance for Rossi

With a 38-point advantage in the World Championship after his podium finish and a crash for rival Jorge Lorenzo at Phillip Island, Valentino Rossi knows a seventh premier class title is ever closer.

Second place at the Iveco Australian Grand Prix was enough for Valentino Rossi to extend his lead at the top of the MotoGP World Championship standings, after title rival and Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo crashed out on lap one of the race.

Rossi saw his advantage at the summit of the rankings cut to 18 points after the Spaniard’s win at Estoril, but an eleventh podium of the season – comprised of six wins, four runner-up spots and a third place – stretched his lead to 38 points after Phillip Island.

Casey Stoner took victory at his home circuit for the third year in a row, and Rossi acknowledged the Australian’s quality as well as the significance of Lorenzo’s DNF.

“I read on my board that Lorenzo was out, so I tried for the victory. Casey set a good pace, but my bike setting was good so I tried to follow him at 100%, but also had to remember not to make any mistakes for the championship after Lorenzo’s crash. It was a great battle. I tried, at one part of the race it was possible to attack, but at the end it was too risky and anyway Casey had a great race.”

“These 20 points are so important for my championship. I have to thank Yamaha and all the guys in my team because we worked well this weekend and now we have a 38-point advantage with two races to go and we will try to do better next week in Sepang.”

Rossi knows that the 2009 title is imminent and that he could clinch it in Malaysia, “I think with 38 points it’s possible. Sepang is a great circuit, one of my favourites and I like it a lot. Usually the Yamaha is very strong over there, so I’m quite confident. We have to keep the concentration. We have the first match point for the championship but we have to remain focused and try to improve the result. This is one of the best second places of my career.”

MotoGP, 2009, Iveco AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Valentino Rossi, Fiat Yamaha Team

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