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Valentino Rossi wins San Marino Grand Prix at home track as championship leader Marquez falls

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MISANO ADRIATICO, Italy — Valentino Rossi won the San Marino Grand Prix on Sunday, at his home track, after MotoGP world championship leader Marc Marquez fell and finished 15th.

Rossi clocked a time of 44 minutes, 14.586 seconds to finish 1.578 seconds ahead of Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo and send the partisan crowd wild as he claimed his first victory of the season.

Dani Pedrosa was third, more than four seconds behind Rossi.

The Misano circuit is located near Rossi's home town of Tavullia and it was the nine-time world champion's first victory on Italian soil since his win on that track in 2009.

"It's a really great win and with Marquez in such amazing form it's not like it happens often," Rossi said. "It was the right moment and I took advantage of it, thanks to a Yamaha which was better than the Honda."

The Misano circuit had been renamed after MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli, who died after a crash at the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix. An emotional Rossi dedicated the victory to his late friend.

PHOTO: Spain's rider Marc Marquez steers his Honda during a qualifying session for Sunday's San Marino Moto GP grand prix at the Misano circuit, in Misano Adriatico, Italy, Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Spain's rider Marc Marquez steers his Honda during a qualifying session for Sunday's San Marino Moto GP grand prix at the Misano circuit, in Misano Adriatico, Italy, Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Rossi qualified third on the grid, behind Lorenzo and Andrea Iannone, with Marquez starting from the second row for the first time this season as he looked for his 12th win in 13 races.

Marquez and Rossi fought from the start, and the duo passed Lorenzo on the fourth lap.

The 35-year-old Rossi was leading Marquez when the young Spaniard fell on a right hand curve on lap 10. Marquez got back up but could only finish 15th, 1:15.948 behind Rossi.

"Winning was the main aim of the season and I did. I knew I could do it and I continued to push and believe in it always, regardless of everything," Rossi said. "I was near enough often, I kept telling myself that it would happen one day that Marquez wouldn't be at 100% and I had to be ready."

It was Rossi's 107th victory in his remarkable career but his first since the Dutch GP last year and only his second win in four seasons.

Lorenzo, who had won the past three editions of the San Marino Grand Prix, finished second for the fourth successive race.

Pedrosa has closed the gap in the standings slightly to 74 points behind Marquez. Rossi is a point further back.

The victory comes 18 years and 27 days after Rossi's first career win and is a new record. Loris Capirossi was the previous longest winning driver, with a gap of 17 years and 49 days between his first and last victories.

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PHOTO: Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi, of Italy, celebrates on the podium after winning the San Marino Moto GP grand prix, at the Misano circuit, in Misano Adriatico, Italy, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
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