ROSSI COMEBACK IN OZ: Valentino Rossi (winner, second right), team mate Jorge Lorenzo (left), Yamaha' s MD for racing Lin Jarvis (second left) and Yamaha Tech3 rider Bradley Smith of Britain (right) celebrate on the podium after the 2014 Austr
PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia - Valentino Rossi has an edge over Yamaha team mate Jorge Lorenzo in the battle for second place in the 2014 MotoGP championship as the teams head for Sepang in Malaysia.
Rossi energised his chances of finishing runner-up behind 2014 champion Marc Marquez with victory at Sunday's Australian race at Phillip Island – the win made possible because Marquez, six seconds ahead in the race, fell a few laps from the end.
Italian Rossi, at 35 the oldest rider in MotoGP, has won six premier-class races in Malaysia and is looking forward to adding to his record on October 26. He said: "I love Sepang! It's one of my favourite tracks but the race is always very difficult. Physically, it's a little too hot for a MotoGP race, but the track is fantastic.
"Tests in winter weren't too bad so we have to try to do the same this weekend and be as strong as possible for Sunday's race."
REVELLING IN TRIUMPH
Rossi won his first Australian MotoGP in nine years after Marquez crashed while holding a big lead on his Honda on Lap 19 of the 27-lap race. Rossi beat Lorenzo by more than 10 seconds to open an eight-point lead over his Yamaha team mate with two races left - Malaysia and Spain.
Rossi revelled in his first triumph at Phillip Island since 2005 and his glory days of the previous decade, with his 82nd victory at his 250th premier-class GP. He’s won seven premier-class titles he is keen to finish the season right behind the tearaway Marquez.
Rossi added: "It's not as important as winning the championship but it's second place and especially it's a great second place because I'm fighting with Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo who are two of the best four riders in the world.
"It's a very high level for second position and the target is to try to be competitive every weekend and to be strong on Sunday. Chasing second place is the motivation."
MARQUEZ MISSED RECORD
Lorenzo was critical of the wear on his Bridgestone tyres in Australia and said it was his "luckiest second place" given the circumstances. He too was motivated in the race to be championship runner-up. "It's very important to just lose five points with Valentino because I can try to finish in front of him in the next few races," he said.
"So, in normal conditions, we hope we can be competitive (in Sepang) like we were before this race."
Marquez, who was on course at Phillip Island to equal Australian Mick Doohan's record of 12 wins in a season has two more chances - either Sepang or the season-closer in Valencia, Spain.
"There were many crashes in the race and it almost all happened the same way: the front wheel locking-up," he said after his Phillip Island disappointment. "It's better that this happened now so that I gain experience for 2015."