“It is a great feeling to win again”
Fiat Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi took an impressive victory in Shanghai today, his second at the circuit having won the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix with Yamaha in 2005.
It was Rossi's 89th career victory but his first in
seven races, since Estoril last year, as well as his first on Bridgestone tyres.
Rossi had looked strong from Friday morning and he was clearly in good shape for the race, but after two days of high temperatures and sunshine, heavy rain throughout the morning threatened to turn the established order on its head. The rain ceased in the late morning however and the track began to dry out with the aid of a warm wind, meaning the race was finally declared dry. Starting from second on the grid behind Colin Edwards, Rossi crossed the line first time in fourth but had made it back to second by the end of the third lap, passing Casey Stoner and pole-sitter Colin Edwards in the process. His next target was Dani Pedrosa and he made his move on the Spaniard at the end of the back straight to take the lead.
From then on the Italian led to the chequered flag but it was nail-bitingly close for the majority of the remaining 17 laps, with less than half a second between them and the pair the only two lapping consistently in the 1'59s. On lap 19 Pedrosa began to tail off and Rossi eventually took victory by 3.890 seconds, with Casey Stoner over 15 seconds back in third.
“After seven races it is a great feeling to win again; I am very happy! This is a very important result for us because above all I was able to ride exactly how I wanted from start to finish and this was great fun for me. I had a great battle with Pedrosa and he pushed me hard and to be doing 1'59s until the end was unbelievable!”, he said.
“All weekend we were hoping the rain wouldn't come so when we saw it this morning we were quite disappointed, then it started to dry out so we were praying that it would dry completely; we were lucky today! We worked very well with Bridgestone and together with their technicians we made a late tyre change and it was the right choice because my tyre worked very well until the end, as my times showed! It's the first win for us with Bridgestone so this is a great moment also for this reason and I want to say thank you to them. We were fast from Friday morning here and step by step we've found the perfect set-up and today the hard work paid off for everyone. We've had four races and four different winners so this shows how close the championship is, now we need to keep going because our rivals are all very near. Lorenzo did a great race today with his injuries, so this is a good day for everyone in the team. Thank you to my team and everyone at Yamaha, it's great to be here again.”
The other side of the garage had an almost equally happy day as Jorge Lorenzo shook off the pain from his fractured ankle to take a brave fourth place, something that was unimaginable after his crash on Friday morning.
Rossi is the fourth different rider to win in four races this season and the championship is wide open, with Lorenzo seven points off Pedrosa in second and Rossi just two points behind him in third.