In front of local hero Nicky Hayden
Valentino Rossi extended his lead in the MotoGP World Championship with victory at the first ever Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, cut short with just seven laps remaining owing to safety concerns caused by high winds and a wet track.
Delayed until 4pm local time, the race got underway on soaking asphalt, the 125cc race having already been amended by the meteorological conditions.
Rossi was targeting 69 in two different forms in the early stages of the race, looking to claim the new record for premier class wins by chasing down the rider assigned to that same number.
Local hero Nicky Hayden, the man who had inaugurated the Indianapolis circuit back in April and who debuted the other American track on the calendar –Laguna Seca- with a victory back in 2005, was giving no quarter as he set a fearsome pace at the front. The Repsol Honda rider took the lead on the second lap, and set the fastest laps of the race in a continuous attempt at breaking free from Rossi.
The MotoGP series leader was, however, able to follow the 2006 World Champion all the way, and made the inevitable overtaking maneuver on lap 14. From then on it was a case of holding his nerve to take his fourth consecutive victory, the premier class milestone, the first Indianapolis MotoGP win and, most importantly, an almost insurmountable 87 point lead at the head of the standings.
Hayden returned to the podium on his comeback race after missing two Grands Prix with a foot injury. He held his nerve in spite of some wobbly moments to come home second and make his rostrum comeback –a first of the year for the `Kentucky Kid´.
The American had lost almost all of a five second advantage to second Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo on the twentieth lap of the race, in which the decision was made to bring the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix to an early conclusion.
Consultations with IRTA and Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta meant a few nervous moments before the official result was announced, with the decision made promptly to confirm the end of the American race.
Lorenzo took a podium for the second consecutive race, having been untroubled by the chasing pack during the middle stages. Almost nineteen seconds behind, reigning titlist Casey Stoner came home in fourth place, albeit now with only the smallest of chances to retain his crown in 2008.
After leading a MotoGP race for the first time in his career, Andrea Dovizioso brought his JiR Team Scot Honda home less than a second behind Stoner, with home rider and AMA Superbike champion Ben Spies rounding off the top six.
Sylvain Guintoli, Dani Pedrosa, Chris Vermeulen and Alex de Angelis were the the final riders in the top ten.