The Gauloises Yamaha Team rider held off a strong challenge from Nicky Hayden (Honda) to continue his undefeated run at this circuit, which stretches back to 2001. Rossi started well from second on the grid and chased pole setter Hayden over the opening two laps before taking the lead and making several attempts to escape. However the American hung on and was presented with the opportunity to retake the lead when Rossi dropped the pace at the halfway stage. After studying Hayden for three laps, Rossi regained control on lap nineteen and managed to open out a one-second cushion as Hayden became embroiled in a scrap with Marco Melandri (Honda). Hayden eventually got the better of the Italian but Rossi was able to control his lead until the end of the race, winning by 1.007 seconds. Colin Edwards remains in the hunt for second in the riders’ championship after a battling sixth place finish today. The Texan had struggled all weekend to match the excellent pace he found here during pre-season testing and was unable to hang on to the front group after starting from fifth on the grid. Edwards now lies in fourth place overall, eight points behind Hayden and Melandri, who are tied for second with two rounds remaining.
VALENTINO ROSSI (1st – 41’08.542)
“It has been an amazing season and today we have won the constructors’ title for Yamaha in the year of their 50th Anniversary, so I am very happy. Congratulations to everybody. Eleven wins in the year matches my own record and to do it at Phillip Island is very special for me. I have won a lot of important races here, especially the 2001 500cc title and the title last year for Yamaha and it is a magic track for me – I love it. Today was tough, I had a great rival in Nicky Hayden and it was a great race. I got to the front after two laps and had a good rhythm so I pushed two or three times to escape. Every time Nicky came with me so I let him pass me just to see how it was. Then some more riders arrived so I tried again and this time I managed to get a one second advantage, which was like gold! I managed to hold it until the last lap and to celebrate the win in front of this great crowd is always a magnificent pleasure. Thank you to them and to everybody else who has made this season so special.”
COLIN EDWARDS (6th – +33.200)
“That wasn’t great. We’ve been chasing our tail a little bit all weekend with the set-up and unfortunately we ran out of time and ideas. In the winter everything seemed okay here but this time we’ve been playing catch-up. In the end we went towards Valentino’s setting, which was obviously working well for him, but for me it was just spinning up too much, even with the front wheel off the ground, which isn’t normal. I want to thank the whole team for their hard work and congratulate Yamaha for the constructors’ title. It’s just a shame it didn’t work out for me today.”
JEREMY BURGESS – VALENTINO ROSSI’S CREW CHIEF
“It’s been a good weekend for us, starting off with some fast and consistent times on Friday and Saturday and then staying in good shape as the other riders got better in the build-up to the race. Valentino controlled the race today and gave another example of why he is World Champion – he rides with his head as much as his wrist. It was nice for the Australian guys in the team to win their home race but more than that we are delighted for Yamaha to win the constructors’ title. It was our only remaining target for the season so now we can look forward to the last two rounds and see what comes up.”