Rossi Crowned MotoGP Champion Despite Stoner Dominance in Sepang
Following scorching weather at the weekend, the Malaysian MotoGP was delayed following rainstorms best described as tropical, leading to every rider starting on Bridgestone’s wet tyres. With the track wet throughout the race, making it the only Grand Prix this season to be run in its entirety in wet conditions, Casey Stoner delivered a dominant performance from fourth on the grid to take the lead on the first lap. A masterful display saw the Ducati Team rider take his fourth win of the season. Valentino Rossi and Fiat Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo also set a very fast pace as they cut through the field making good use of their wet tyres in the slippery conditions. After closing on Dani Pedrosa in the latter stages of the race, Rossi finished on the final step of the podium to claim the 2009 World Championship title.
Hiroshi Yasukawa, director of Bridgestone Corporation congratulated both the race and championship winners: “I’d like to congratulate Casey for his dominant win here today in Sepang in very demanding conditions, and I would also like to congratulate Valentino Rossi and the Fiat Yamaha Team as their third position finish here secures him his ninth World Championship and his second consecutive world title on Bridgestone tyres. The championship has been much closer this year than in past seasons, and I am very happy with the level of fairness of support we have been able to provide to all teams and riders as the Official Tyre Supplier. As we continue this support I am sure we will see many more exciting races, both in Valencia to end this season and throughout the next two years of our appointment as single tyre supplier.”
Tohru Ubukata, manager of Bridgestone’s Motorcycle Tyre Development Department said, “even with the rain the temperature was still hot, which is why we chose to bring the hard compound wet tyre here… Right from the start of the race Casey was very fast and I was surprised with his pace considering the conditions.” Stoner was complimentary about the way the tyres held up in the rain: “The early laps were very tentative and I didn’t get a good start, but when I reached the lead I started to test the conditions. I didn’t expect to pull the gap I did, but then I just decided to keep going for at least half race distance. By then the tyres had started moving around a little, but actually the tyres were in a lot better condition than I expected. We couldn’t have asked for a better comeback with these two wins.”
2009 World Champion Rossi was understandably pleased with his achievements: “This weekend I was so fast in the dry but right before the race it started to rain and we had to go on track with no wet setting. This is a great achievement for me, my ninth championship and seventh in MotoGP. I have to thank all the guys, Yamaha, the Fiat Yamaha team, Peter [Rossi’s Bridgestone engineer] and all my friends and everyone who helped me to reach this achievement. We are the top and now we relax – the ninth championship is great!”