(CNN) -- Local favorite Valentino Rossi claimed victory in Sunday's San Marino MotoGP to stay at the top of the championship standings in his quest for a ninth world title.
Rossi wheelies his way to victory in his home MotoGP at Misano.
Italian Rossi, who was born in nearby Tavullia, started the race on pole but was left trailing Dani Pedrosa in the early stages as the Spaniard grabbed the lead going into the first corner.
Rossi was then forced to fend off a spirited challenge from his Yamaha teammate and nearest championship rival Jorge Lorenzo, before edging past Honda rider Pedrosa with 21 laps left and pulling away for victory.
Rossi's sixth win of the season extended his lead over Lorenzo, who also passed Pedrosa to finish second, to 30 points.
"It wasn't easy at the beginning and I was in trouble after a bad start," Rossi told reporters. "However, it was in the end the perfect weekend."
Pedrosa held onto third place but ran out of fuel as he lapped the circuit after taking the chequered flag.
"Maybe I had a problem for something like that to happen," Pedrosa told reporters.. "Lorenzo and Rossi were just too fast for me on the corners, but hopefully I will have more fortune next time."
Rossi is hoping to wrap up a sixth MotoGP title to add to his three world titles in other categories in his remarkable career on two wheels.