World MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi cruised to the 100th victory of his illustrious motorcycling career with a comfortable win at the Alice TT Assen race in the Netherlands on Saturday.
The Italian took sole ownership of top spot in the overall standings after finishing 5.638 seconds ahead of Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo and 23.113 in front of 2007 world champion Casey Stoner. The trio had been tied on 106 points ahead of the seventh of 18 races this season. Rossi started in pole position but briefly lost his lead to Stoner’s Ducati before moving out in front again, and the Italian steadily increased his advantage throughout the 26-lap race. “I am so happy. I felt good on the first lap and knowing that Lorenzo is difficult to beat I put my foot down to establish as big an advantage as possible over him,” Rossi told reporters. “It gives me great pleasure to record this victory. This is a great moment for me.” Rossi, now five points ahead of Lorenzo and nine clear of Stoner, is still 22 victories behind the all-time record held by 15-time world motorcycling champion Giacomo Agostini, who raced from 1964-77.
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Stoner, who started from fourth on the grid, revealed after the race that he had been struggling with ill health. “I felt fine until Friday, but today I felt tired after the first couple of laps,” the frail-Australian said. “I have been taking any amount of supplements to keep my body up to scratch, but it has been a tough battle.” Lorenzo recovered from a poor start, which saw him drop to sixth after the first lap, to become Rossi’s closest challenger with seven laps remaining. “I want to congratulate Valentino. It is quite some achievement to win 100 Grand Prix,” he said. Dani Pedrosa had begun the race from second ahead of fellow Spaniard Lorenzo, but crashed out at a corner after only four laps to dent his hopes of overtaking fellow Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso to claim fourth in the overall standings. Dovizioso also spun off in a similar situation on the same lap, and remains two points ahead of Pedrosa. Top-10 finishers: 1. V Rossi (Ita) Yamaha 42 minutes 14.611 seconds 2. J Lorenzo (Spa) Yamaha 42:19.979 3. C Stoner (Aus) Ducati 42:37.724 4. C Edwards (USA) Yamaha 42:43.725 5. C Vermeulen (Aus) Suzuki 42:48.216 6. J Toseland (Gbr) Yamaha 42:53.958 7. R De Puniet (Fra) Honda 42:54.154 8. T Elias (Spa) Honda 42:54.385 9. N Hayden (USA) Ducati 42:54.434 10. L Capirossi (Ita) Suzuki 42:55.284