PHOTOGRAPHY BY ADAM WAHEED
CYPRESS, CA, JULY 17 - It’s hard to think of any Red Bull United States Grand Prix without thinking first of the 2008 MotoGP. Why? One reason: The Pass. It was the defining moment of the 2008 World Championship with When Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner headed into the signature corner of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca side-by-side, something had to give and it did. Rossi ran wide and off into the dirt, but it didn’t stop him from somehow still passing Stoner. It was the defining moment of the 2008 season as it stopped what looked like a Stoner freight train and played a big role in Rossi marching on to the title.
When asked today if he knew the entire time that the pass would work, Rossi laughed and said: “No, no.”
Although a run through the dirt is never planned, you can see it in Rossi’s face when he talks about it that the 2008 U.S. GP round is one that he’ll always cherish.
“That race was very important,” Rossi said today at the U.S. headquarters in Cypress. “I did a good result in Laguna Seca, but unfortunately it was not the best track during the season for me. So I still had like a 20-point advantage over him [Stoner], but he was coming back very fast and he won the last races. That was the key point of the season. When I start, I remember that I say, ‘I win or he don’t win.’ That was the main thing at the beginning.”
But what about the pass? Well, turns out it was a mistake.
“We both brake very deep and when we go up the hill he touch me from the outside, so I was also a bit angry,” Rossi said. “I want to brake deeper than him, but he brake very deep so I have to brake too deep. I was lucky because I was I do exactly the same mistake in practice. I arrive a bit wider and when I arrive there and I understand that I was a bit out [wide], I was not very scared because it happened on Saturday or Friday, I don’t remember. So I remember that in that spot I could pass without big problem. It was lucky.”