Mike Stevens | Jul 20, 2009

ITALIAN SUPERSTAR Valentino Rossi has extended his lead in the MotoGP championship after claiming a last gasp victory at the German Grand Prix.

The eight-time World Champion seized control of the race after a daring move past teammate Jorge Lorenzo with only two laps remaining, diving down the inside of the Spaniard before fending off a number of late advances to win by only a tenth of a second.

Rossi’s win, the fourth of the current campaign, increases his buffer over Lorenzo to 16 points as the championship moves into the second half of the season.

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The Yamaha star told reporters after the race he enjoyed the 30-lap event, despite being engulfed in battle for its entire duration.

“It was fun, but very tough. The top riders made different tyre choices, all the bikes were behaving differently,” he said.

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Honda’s Dani Pedrosa finished third while Australian Casey Stoner crossed the line fourth, 10 seconds behind Rossi after fading late in the race.

After starting third, Stoner charged to the lead on lap seven, engaging in an engrossing battle with Rossi as he sought to bounce back following a recent form lapse caused by illness.

However, Stoner wasn’t able to hold off Rossi for long, with the Italian surging past the Ducati rider on lap 17 before dropping to third next lap after Lorenzo became the second rider to sneak past him.

Stoner then began to fall off the pace, slowly dropping back towards Pedrosa before he was finally overtaken, forcing him to settle for fourth spot.

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The result leaves Stoner 28 points behind Rossi, but Ducati team boss Livio Suppo believes the 2007 MotoGP champion can still win the title this season.

“We carry on believing in the title. Casey is one of those four phenomenal riders, and the bike has improved greatly,” he said according to Autosport.

"It's clear that Casey was coming from three extremely difficult races, at the end of which he was really destroyed.

“I think at some point in the race he shocked himself by being still there: you could see him giving up for a moment, then he went for it again but risked to crash a couple of times and decided to bring the points home.”

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