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Photo Gallery: “The Man” makes history at Laguna Seca

Submitted by on August 5, 2013

Valentino Rossi

It was The Man’s 285th time at attacking a circuit in racing anger. It was The Man’s 225th start of a MotoGP race. It was The Man’s 181st Podium. It was The Man’s 145th MotoGP podium. 

By Eric Johnson

The last time The Man stepped onto the podium at Laguna Seca Raceway was during the summer of 2010. However on Sunday, July 21, 2013 – and three years ex post facto – The Man found his way up onto the podium, and smiling that inimitable elfish, charming smile, made the 40,000-some fans on-hand in the pastoral farmlands that John Steinbeck made so famous smile back, collectively, at him.

The Man had come through.


Tapping through the six-speed cassette-type gearbox and maximizing the 250-horsepower of the 1000 cubic centimeter Liquid Cooled inline four cylinder engine framed in an aluminum twin tube delta box and otherwise known as the 2013 Yamaha YZR-M1, The Man mercurially streaked around the 11-turn, 2.238-mile Laguna Seca circuit 32 consecutive times to place third at round nine of the 2013 globetrotting MotoGP World Championship.

rossi laguna seca

“I am so happy about this podium,” said The Man, a seven-time World Champion. “It is more positive and more important compared to Sachsenring, because here with the Yamaha we suffer a bit. It looks like we have some disadvantage compared to the Honda’s. But I did a good race, with a good pace and I was the first Yamaha. I did a fantastic start, but I don’t have enough pace for stay with Stefan and also Marc make a great overtake. But anyway he was too fast for me.”

vale rossi podium

When the lights went out and the race turned on, The Man almost pulled off a miraculous holeshot, but had to come to terms with a second-place starting position, immediately in the wall-of-sound wake of pole-sitter Stephan Bradl.  Just behind – and also a part of M-claw festooned MotoGP band of brothers – were The Man’s teammate and defending MotoGP champion, Jorge Lorenzo as well as Cal Crutchlow of the Tech 3 Yamaha outfit. (Tail gunning for the “bats out of hell” power trio was Tech 3 MotoGP rookie Bradley Smith and Cardion/AB/Motoracing’s Karel Abraham).

rossi in action

A mere three laps into the torrid affair, a demonically determined Marc Marquez pulled a banzai pass in Turns 8A and 8A – internationally known as “The Corkscrew – and in a “stomach in the mouth” elevation drop equal to that of a 5-story office building (seriously) passed The Man the famous “Corkscrew” – and loose gravel and dirt and dust be damned, passed The Man. The blistering pace of the Honda would quickly ratchet up at the sharp end of the field as the rookie Marquez took off after the leader, a German named Stefan Bradl. The Man, getting his wits back after nearly being punted off California asphalt, was content to motor along and held station in third until Alvaro Bautista and his #19 machine came creeping up. And so it was that David (Bautista) tried to crack The Man (Goliath) in the head with the proverbial rock. But it would not come to pass for the Motorcycle Spaniard as the two fired-up a skinned knuckle, club swinging brawl, The Man – who cracked off his best lap time in the twilight of the race – a tire blistering 1:22.369 – coming out on top – and atop of the podium – at the flapping sight of the flag with black and white checkers.

rossi flying at Laguna Seca

“From that moment I have to do a great battle with Bautista that today was very strong,” added The Man. “I always try – always try to push without making mistake. I had a big, big moment with the front where I pick up the bike with the elbow, so I think, ‘This is a sign. I have to go to podium if I don’t crash here.’ At the end I have a lot of problem with the slow guys because no blue flag – I don’t know why. And I get a small gap on Alvaro, but Alvaro come back and we arrive on the last corner together, but anyway I am happy this is my third podium in a row. I am the first Yamaha and I’m happy about the race and the result.”

rossi pitlane

Meanwhile, a few seconds adrift of the fray, Lorenzo and Crutchlow had settled in to their 6th & 7th place positions, while Smith’s Yamaha ceased to run on lap eight and, having put together back-to-back top ten finishes in the previous GPs, Smith had to take a long walk back to the pits with a DNF. And so it was… The points leader heading into the round prior to Laguna (Germany), Dani Pedrosa, would catch and pass the injured Lorenzo with 21 laps to go and moved into 5th place. Crutchlow would move up onto Lorenzo’s rear tire at the midway point of the race, but that’s as close as the Brit would get to the factory-backed champ as Lorenzo would buckle down in an effort to preserve as many points as possible despite his surgically-corrected (and subsequently bent @ Sachsenring) titanium shoulder.

2013/07/21 - mgp - Round09 - Laguna Seca -

And of The Man? At the age of – precisely – 34 years and 155 days, Valentino – “THE MAN” – Rossi became the oldest rider in MotoGP history to score back-to-back-to back podium finishes since the Great Phil Read did the deed way back in 1975. And that, race fans, truly is saying something.



USGP – Laguna Seca – Sunday, July 21, 2013

1 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda

2 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda

3 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha

4 Alvaro Bautista Go&Fun Honda Gresini Honda

5 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team Honda

6 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha

7 Cal Crutchlow Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha

8 Nicky Hayden Ducati Team Ducati

9 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team Ducati

10 Hector Barbera Avintia Blusens FTR

14 Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing ART


MotoGP overall standings (after 9 of 18 rounds)


1 Marc MARQUEZ Honda SPA 163

2 Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 147

3 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha SPA 137

4 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 117

5 Cal CRUTCHLOW Yamaha GBR 116

6 Stefan BRADL Honda GER 84

7 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 81

8 Alvaro BAUTISTA Honda SPA 71

9 Nicky HAYDEN Ducati USA 65


11 Bradley SMITH Yamaha GBR 51

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