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Rossi supports limits, accepts famous Laguna 08 win couldn’t happen now

If Valentino Rossi was racing Casey Stoner at Laguna Seca today then he knows his famous 2008 win wouldn't be allowed today... 

Valentino Rossi - Casey Stoner


Valentino Rossi says he is supportive of the strict enforcement of track limits in MotoGP even though such a rule would have prevented him from claiming his famously contentious win over Casey Stoner at Laguna Seca in 2008.

Regarded as one of the finest races to have occurred during the MotoGP-era, Rossi and Stoner - close and at times bitter rivals - engaged in a fierce fight for supremacy around the American circuit, with the Italian famously using the track and more to plant passes on the Ducati rider.

It was a win that would live in infamy with supporters saying the aggressive racing is part of the show and others saying he flagrantly flouted the rulebook.

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Indeed, today certain passes - most notably those at the Corkscrew - would not be allowed, with Rossi’s use of the strip beyond the kerb likely to be considered exceeding track limits with pressure sensors installed to notify race direction if any rider who touches the ‘rumble strip’.

Today, any rider who even slightly touches the ‘green’ loses their lap time in practice and qualifying, while a long lap penalty is dealt for any rider who does so four times or more in the race.

Though the strict rulings have drawn controversy and led to some results shuffling after the flag, Rossi says he is in support of this - despite being guilty of it in the past - because the use of asphalt over grass is safer but leads to some to act as though it is part of the track and push too much without penalty.

“It needs rules,” he said. .”Because the situation with the overtaking manoeuvers and everything is much more extreme now than it was in Laguna Seca in 2008. The routes have changed a lot, now there is no more grass next to the slope, but the green stripe. 

“That was done for safety. Because if you catch the grass at that speed, you'll fly away. The asphalt, on the other hand, is less dangerous. In my opinion, however, you have to make a rule and say that you shouldn't touch the green at all - see it as if there were still grass there.

“At the level we have reached today, which is extreme in many respects, everyone goes over the curbs and is all green if you don't have a clear rule. I think that's the right thing to do.”

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