Rossi Gets His 100th

Henny Ray Abrams | June 27, 2009

Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi unfurled a banner with photos from his 99 previous wins after winning his landmark 100th Grand Prix in dominant style on the Circuit van Drenthe, the “Cathedral” of racing in Assen, Holland.Rossi took the lead from Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner on the second of 26 laps and gently eased away. After passing Stoner on the fifth lap, Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo made a run at him, but Rossi was much quicker in the fast section of the track at the end of the lap. Every time Lorenzo closed in, Rossi would pull out a few tenths.The Spaniard closed it to within 1.66 seconds on the 16th of 26 laps, but the next time across the line the gap was 2.1 and growing. The margin of victory was 5.368 seconds.The win was yet another milestone for a rider many consider the greatest in history. His first victory came on a 125cc Aprilia at Brno in 1996. Then followed a 125cc World Championship, a 250cc World Championship, a 500cc World Championship, and the first MotoGP World Championship in 2003. He retained the title in 2004 and 2005, lost it in 2006 and ’07, but regained it in 2008. Rossi beat Giacomo Agostini’s record of 68 premier class wins with a victory in last year’s Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.Stoner was a solitary third today, 23.113 seconds from Rossi, who broke the three-way championship deadlock. Rossi now leads with 131 to 126 for Lorenzo and 122 for Stoner.Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards equaled his season best with a lonely ride to fourth, 4.5 seconds in front of Rizla Suzuki’s Chris Vermeulen, whose fifth place finish was his best.Then came the best battle of the day and one of the best of the season. The six-way fight for sixth went for the entire race, with drama coming on the final lap. When the dust had cleared, literally, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s James Toseland was sixth, a career best in front of, in short order, LCR Honda’s Randy De Puniet, San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Toni Elias, Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden, and Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi. Missing from the group was Pramac Racing’s Mika Kallio who crashed out of seventh on the final lap. Hayden had been at the front of the pack, then seventh when he ran off the track and dropped to eleventh.He recovered two spots to finish ninth.The day was a disaster for the Repsol Honda team. Dani Pedrosa crashed in turn one on the fifth lap while in fourth. Teammate Andrea Dovizioso crashed out of fourth in the same corner on the 11th lap.


1. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha)

2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)

3. Casey Stoner (Ducati)

4. Colin Edwards (Yamaha)

5. Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki)

6. James Toseland (Yamaha)

7. Randy De Puniet (Honda)

8. Toni Elias (Honda)

9. Nicky Hayden (Ducati)

10. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki)

11. Alex De Angelis (Honda)

12. Marco Melandri (Kawasaki)

13. Sete Gibernau (Ducati)

14. Nicolo Canepa (Ducati)

15. Yuki Takahashi (Honda)

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.