Rossi claims 7th world MotoGP title

World Champion Italian rider Valentino Rossi (AFP Photo / Saeed Khan)
Valentino Rossi has secured a place in motorcycling history after clinching his seventh world MotoGP title in Malaysia.

Needing just a top-four finish, the Italian, who started from pole, finished third in Sepang to successfully defend his crown with one race of the season remaining.

The 30-year-old left behind Yahama team-mate Jorge Lorenzo – the only rider able to catch Rossi in the standings.

“It was a difficult year. This race reflected how the season went – very tough, with some mistakes, some disappointing results," Rossi said, hinting at heavy conditions during the race, which was delayed for 35 minutes due to torrential rain.

“But I won six races, I was consistent and it's another world championship. I thank all the team and everyone who's helped me," Rossi added.

Australia's Casey Stoner won the race – his second victory in a row – with Spain's Dani Pedrosa in second place.

The season-ending race will be held in Valencia next month.