KUALA LUMPUR - Italy's Valentino Rossi clinched his second successive MotoGP world championship yesterday, finishing third at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
This after a penalty forced title rival Jorge Lorenzo to start from the back of the grid.
Australia's Casey Stoner, riding a Ducati, excelled in wet conditions at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia, snatching the lead from Dani Pedrosa on the first lap and then powering away from the Spaniard for a comfortable win.
Pedrosa finished in second place while Lorenzo, the only rider who had any hope of catching Rossi in the title race, finished fourth.
Lorenzo, who had qualified second behind Rossi, battled his way up the order.
But Rossi settled after an early error and came home safely to win his seventh premier class title and his fourth for Yamaha.
The victory was also Rossi's ninth motorcycling championship overall including his triumphs in the 125cc category in 1997 and 250cc title in 1999.
"It's a great achievement for me," a beaming Rossi, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a chicken and the No9, said in a televised interview.
The Italian has an insurmountable 286 points in the world title standings ahead of Lorenzo (245) and Stoner (220) before the final race in Valencia, Spain.
Honda rider Hiroshi Aoyama earlier won the 250cc category ahead of second-placed Spaniard Hector Barbera and Italian champion Marco Simoncelli.
Aprilia rider Julian Simon of Spain, who secured the championship with victory at the Australian Grand Prix last week, held off British teammate Bradley Smith to win the 125cc category. - Reuter