Season Rewind: Valentino Rossi

MotoGP ’09 rewind for Valentino Rossi

Valentino Rossi, the reigning World Champion, has a decent 30 points lead in the general standing over his Spanish teammate and rival; Jorge Lorenzo, with four races to go. So far, Valentino Rossi has six poles and six wins to his name. The latest of which, he got in the last round, at Misano Circuit.

So, how the season ’09 has been for Valentino Rossi so far? Well, I can safely say that it has been hard but fantastic as he gets closer to the seventh premier class title in the world of MotoGP.

The season began at the Losail Circuit, Qatar, where Rossi qualified second on the grid and was 2nd in the race, behind Casey, who started at the pole position. He then recorded another second place finish at the Motegi Circuit in Japan, behind his Yamaha teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, who recorded his second MotoGP third win in the premier class thus far.

The third round at the famous Jerez Circuit saw him, record his first win of the season, and taking the championship lead of eleven points in the general standings. However, his run of consistent podiums for three races ended when he crashed in the difficult wet-dry race at Le Mans Circuit, as he swapped onto slicks early in the race. In addition, he changed biked thrice, and was given a ride through pit-lane as a penalty for over-speeding in pit-lane, eventually finishing sixteenth, and relinquishing the lead to Jorge. Jorge, who judged the conditions perfectly, recorded his second win of the season.

Losing a seven-year winning streak at Mugello behind Stoner and Lorenzo did not sit too comfortably with Rossi either and he turned up the heat on his closest competitors at the next round.

His battle with Jorge at Catalunya Circuit will go down as one of the best races of all-time, where he took the victory on the last corner, overtaking his teammate. At that moment, Valentino, Jorge and Casey were tied at 106 points in the standings.

Rossi then stepped up the things, recording his 100th GP win of his remarkable career, at the Assen Circuit, where he started from pole position. Lorenzo kept the pressure on Rossi with another podium finish, in third place, behind re-emergent Dani Pedrosa, and Rossi, at Laguna Seca.

The trip to Germany; Sachsenring Circuit, for round nine saw another Rossi-Lorenzo duel, with the Italian beating his young Spanish teammate by just 0.099s this time.

A set of surprise results saw maiden MotoGP race-winner Andrea Dovizioso, Randy de Puniet and Colin Edwards on the rostrum in the final World Championship visit to Donington Park, but Rossi still somehow extended his standings advantage. He picked up his Yamaha M1 after a crash on the wet-dry track and finished in fifth place having started on pole, whilst Lorenzo crashed out, Pedrosa was ninth and Stoner was 14th – in the Aussie rider’s last GP appearance to date this season.

By then, Rossi had 25 points advantage over his ever-improving teammate, Jorge Lorenzo. Rossi recorded another pole position at the Automotodrom Brno Circuit, despite a rare qualifying crash. The weekend was the perfect one for him as he took another victory from pole whilst Lorenzo suffered his second DNF in a row.

Two weeks later at Indianapolis Rossi’s attempts to repeat his historic debut Brickyard triumph from 2008 turned into a disaster as he crashed out and Lorenzo reversed the roles with an accomplished win. The gap was back down to 25, in the general standings, with five rounds remaining.

After losing the seven-year winning streak at Mugello, Rossi was desperate for a win at the Italian Soil; the Misano Circuit. The race saw another one-two duel between the Yamaha teammates, but with Italian successfully finishing ahead of his Spanish teammate, extending his championship lead to 30 points, with four races remaining, which are at Estoril, Phillip Island, Sepang and Valencia.

It would take a brave man to bet much against a seventh premier class title for Rossi, but the World Champion knows that Lorenzo – who will remain with him at Fiat Yamaha in 2010 – will continue to be a constant thorn in his side.

I pray for Rossi, and hope he wins his seventh premier class title.

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