Rossi reclaims title
Yamaha takes the MotoGP "Triple Crown"
This was the second year of competition under the 800cc engine regulation. Jorge Lorenzo newly joined the Fiat Yamaha Team. Collin Edwards and James Toseland paired up as riders for the Tech 3 Yamaha team. It was a strong lineup for the two Yamaha teams, as all four drivers had won world championships previously (two in GP, two in Superbike). Rossi changed his tire supplier from Michelin to Bridgestone this year. He took his eighth win of the season in round 15 in Japan to clinch the championship title with three races remaining. Yamaha also took the manufacturer's title, and Fiat Yamaha Team took the team title. The other three Yamaha riders used Michelin tires and Lorenzo was able to take one win this year and finish the season ranked 4th, while Edwards ranked 7th and Toseland 11th.
The opening round in Qatar was the first night race ever to be held in motorcycle GP history, in order to avoid the scorching daytime heat. The rookie Lorenzo took 2nd place. Rossi meanwhile raced on the Bridgestone for the first time and finished 5th despite leading at one point in the race. The machine and tires worked well together for Rossi in the following race in Spain and he managed to finished 2nd. After taking 3rd in the third round in Portugal, he extended his championship lead further by winning the following three races in China, France, and Italy. He maintained his momentum form by finishing 2nd in Spain and Britain, but he took a fall immediately after the start in round nine in the Netherlands. Rossi managed to get himself back tinto the race 30 seconds behind the leaders, and from there he fought back to finish 11th. With this result, D. Pedrosa (Honda) emerged on top of the ranking ahead of Rossi by finishing 2nd in this race. In round 10 at a rainy Sachsenring circuit in Germany, Rossi was unable to beat C. Stoner (Ducati) but still finished 2nd. Rossi's main rival, Pedrosa, crashed out of the race, which brought Rossi back up on top in the ranking.
The American GP was held under bright sunlight and the highlight of the race was the scorching battle between Rossi and Stoner. The lead changed hands between the two riders many times, while the gap between them remained one-hundredth of a second for many laps. Later in the race, Stoner rode into the gravel, and Rossi won the race 13 seconds ahead him. After the summer break, Rossi was on a hot streak. He took wins in the Czech Republic and San Marino. In the first MotoGP race ever held in Indianapolis, Rossi won again despite rain from an approaching hurricane. He then won in the following round in Japan to clinch the season title.
The rookie Lorenzo took three consecutive pole positions in the first three rounds to show his potential, and he took his first win in the third round in Portugal. He continued his solid performances with a 4th-place finish in China and a 2nd-place finish in France. In the French GP, the podium was dominated by Yamaha riders, with Rossi 1st, Lorenzo 2nd, and Edwards 3rd. Lorenzo finished with no points in the sixth round in Italy, and then in Spain he injured himself during free practice and missed the race. He returned to racing from the British GP, but finished 6th, and he took another 6th-place finish in the Netherlands. His injuries were mostly healed by the German GP, but he crashed again in the rain. Another crash in the USA gave him yet another no-pointer. Lorenzo was finally back in stride for the 13th round in San Marino and a one-two finish with Rossi. He became one of the championship hopefuls for the next season despite finishing the 2008 series ranked 4th.
Edwards took the last of the podium places in France to see Yamaha dominate the podium in the race. Throughout the season Edwards rode like a seasoned veteran. That experience was particularly evident in the race in the Netherlands. Edwards dropped to the back of the pack after maneuvering to avoid Rossi's crash in lap one. He recovered and passed Lorenzo. Next, he closed in on the lead group who were battling for 4th place. Edwards overtook Shinya Nakano (Honda), Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki), Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) to put himself in 4th position. He continued to chase Nicky Hayden (Honda) in 3rd. The pair was evenly matched near the end of the race, but Hayden lost control on the exit of the final chicane. Edwards took this opportunity to pass Hayden to finish 3rd, making him the top Yamaha finisher in the race.
Cate. Rider Machine MotoGP Valentino Rossi YZR-M1(0WS5) MotoGP Jorge Lorenzo YZR-M1(0WS5) MotoGP Colin Edwards YZR-M1(0WS5) MotoGP James Toseland YZR-M1(0WS5)
Pos. Cate. Rider Constructor Point 1 MotoGP V. Rossi Yamaha 373 2 MotoGP C. Stoner Ducati 280 3 MotoGP D. Pedrosa Honda 249 4 MotoGP J. Lorenzo Yamaha 190 5 MotoGP A. Dovizioso Honda 174 6 MotoGP N. Hayden Honda 155 7 MotoGP C. Edwards Yamaha 144 11 MotoGP J. Toseland Yamaha 105
Pos. Constructor Point 1 Yamaha 402 2 Ducati 321 3 Honda 315 4 Suzuki 181 5 Kawasaki 88