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MOTOGP NEWS 

Rossi: Qatar win 'like gold' for title bid

Valentino Rossi on the Qatar podiumValentino Rossi described the Qatar Grand Prix result as 'like gold' for his title bid, as the world champion claimed victory while arch-rival and three-time Losail winner Casey Stoner crashed out of the lead.

Stoner had been quickest in every practice session and qualifying this weekend, and having fought his way to the front after losing a few places on the first lap, he was beginning to pull away before he fell.

That allowed Rossi to make a crucial early break in the standings as he went on to win the race.

"These 25 points are like gold for our championship, especially at this track," said Rossi. "It's a great, great start, because I haven't won here since 2006. I think I deserve this victory. I worked very well with the team and we improved the bike step by step."

Despite Stoner's accident, Rossi did not have an easy race, with Honda's Andrea Dovizioso pushing him hard for victory. He had earlier been concerned that he had not been able to fend off Dani Pedrosa and Stoner for long enough having got into the lead on lap one.

"I knew the start was very important and I made a fantastic start, but I was not faster by enough to stay in front, and I was worried about our speed, because our bike is not fast enough," said Rossi. "I expect to be closer to Ducati and Honda. But we were ready for the battle.

"I lost time with Dani unfortunately. I was not very far behind, but it was going to be difficult to chase Casey. Fortunately he made a mistake.

"From that moment I expected an easier race, but I started to slide too much and I was not able to take enough advantage over Andrea and Nicky [Hayden].

"I tried not to make any mistakes, and when I battled with Andrea I thought I had to ride two or three laps at 110 per cent without any mistakes, and I was able to take enough advantage to finish at the front."

Rossi's Yamaha stopped on the slowing down lap after he had taken the chequered flag, but he believed that was a fuel issue rather than a late failure.

"I think I spun the wheels too much during the race so I used more fuel, and I think I finished my fuel on the end lap," he explained. "But it's like Mr Ferrari said, the perfect racecar is the car that breaks right after the line..."

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