What becomes of the broken-hearted?

Boris

I cried a little when The Doctor hit the ground in Sepang. Three solitary tears crept down my cheeks and a cry of bestial anguish came directly from my broken-heart.

Up until that happened on Lap 17, Rossi, who started from second on the grid after Marquez was relegated to seventh from pole for annoying Iannone during Qualifying, had led from Turn One.

MotoGP Malaysia Rossi GP AN
Sepang MotoGP – AJRN Image

I was cheering and quietly confident he had found a good set-up, liked the track, and his tyre choice.

It was a masterful and classic display from Vale. He had eked out his lead to some one second at times and seemed to be managing that, less a few tenths, each time his pit-board told him Marquez was closing.

MotoGP Malaysia Rossi GP AN
Sepang MotoGP – AJRN Image

Certainly, Marquez, who began kicking arse and taking names as he stormed from seventh on the grid to second, pursued relentlessly. There is no doubt that handing Rossi his arse is as satisfying to the young Spaniard as winning the World Championship. Just making up numbers for the rest of season after being crowned World Champion is just not in Marc’s nature. Or any true racer’s nature. So his pursuit and possibly eventual overtake of Rossi was as sure as Crutchlow spending 50 per cent of the season eating gravel, both foreign and domestic.

MotoGP Malaysia Rossi GP AN
Sepang MotoGP – AJRN Image

So did the pressure of Marquez’s pursuit contribute to Rossi’s crash? I doubt it. The Spaniard wasn’t that close, and Rossi is Rossi. He is as unlikely to be intimidated into an error as I am into suddenly deciding I am a Marquez fan. It was a mistake, for sure. But I don’t think Marquez is responsible.

MotoGP Malaysia Rossi GP AN
Sepang MotoGP – AJRN Image

Sadly, the world was cheated of what might have happened on the last few laps between the two champions, and the race was altogether rather processional.

Jack Miller, who had started fifth on the grid certainly showed some flair early on dicing for the front positions, but almost predictably faded back to finish in eighth.

MotoGP Malaysia Miller GP AN
Sepang MotoGP – AJRN Image

Zarco and Rins – especially Rins – covered themselves in all sorts of almost-glory, and for four laps Zarco sat in second behind Rossi, until he got to sit in third behind Marquez who passed him on Lap Five.

Rins produced a great ride. He had come steaming up from eighth on the grid to score second, and the paddock is really starting to notice just how sweet-handling those factory Suzukis have become. Both Rossi and Marquez have commented on that in recent times. Sadly, Iannone sweet-handled himself off the track on Lap One, so it was all up to Rins and he didn’t disappoint. And this was despite one of his bikes bursting into flame in the pits on Friday.

MotoGP Malaysia RinsEspA GP AN
Sepang MotoGP – AJRN Image

Ducati test-rider Michele Pirro, drafted in at the very last minute to ride Lorenzo’s Ducati after the Mallorcan deemed himself unfit to race following a few slow practice laps, was the latest bloke to crash Lorenzo’s Ducati for him.

Vinales sailed home in fourth after his now usual dismal start (one swallow does not a summer make, huh, Maverick?), and Dani Pedrosa had a wonderful second-last race of his career, ending the day in a solid fifth, some five seconds ahead of Dovizioso. Dovi seems to have come off the boil over the weekend, but looks certain to grab second in the championship after Rossi binned it.

MotoGP Malaysia A Dovi GP AN
Sepang MotoGP – AJRN Image

To me, the season is coming to an end with a whimper rather than a bang, which is what happens when a rider so dominates and secures the championship with several races left to run.

MotoGP Malaysia Marquez GP AN
Sepang MotoGP – AJRN Image

I take nothing away from Marquez, and I am as in awe of him as everyone else. He is the best rider in the world and he demonstrates this every time the red light goes out.
But in terms of the championship hinging on the last race…well, there’s none of that. And maybe the wind has gone out of a few sails.

MotoGP Malaysia Marquez GP AN
Sepang MotoGP – AJRN Image

Of course, they will still bang at the last round. They can’t help themselves, but in terms of risk versus reward, I think only Marquez will continue to astonish us all.

MotoGP Malaysia Marquez GP AN
Sepang MotoGP – AJRN Image

I now need some quiet time to weep on my own…sob!

MotoGP Malaysia Rossi GP AN
Sepang MotoGP – AJRN Image
2018 MotoGP Sepang Results
Pos Rider Team Laps
1. Marquez M. Repsol Honda 40:32.372
2. Rins A. Team Suzuki Ecstar +1.898
3. Zarco J. Monster Tech 3 +2.474
4. Vinales M. Movistar Yamaha +4.667
5. Pedrosa D. Repsol Honda +6.190
6. Dovizioso A. Ducati Team +11.248
7. Bautista A. Angel Nieto Team +15.611
8. Miller J. Alma Pramac Racing +19.009
9. Petrucci D. Alma Pramac Racing +22.921
10. Syahrin H. Monster Tech 3 +26.919
11. Espargaro A. Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +29.503
12. Morbidelli F. Marc VDS Racing Team +30.933
13. Bradl S. LCR Honda +35.322
14. Nakagami T. LCR Honda +37.912
15. Smith B. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +39.675
16. Luthi T. Marc VDS Racing Team +41.820
17. Simeon X. Reale Avintia Racing +43.978
18. Rossi V. Movistar Yamaha +58.288
19. Redding S. Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +1:00.191
DNF Espargaro P. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Retired
DNF Pirro M. Ducati Team Accident
DNF Abraham K. Angel Nieto Team Retired
DNF Iannone A. Team Suzuki Ecstar Accident
MotoGP Malaysia GPpod GP AN
Sepang MotoGP – AJRN Image
2018 MotoGP Sepang Standings
Pos Rider Team Points
1. Marquez Marc Repsol Honda Team 321
2. Dovizioso Andrea Ducati Team 220
3. Rossi Valentino Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 195
4. Vinales Maverick Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 193
5. Rins Alex Team Suzuki Ecstar 149
6. Zarco Johann Monster Yamaha Tech 3 149
7. Crutchlow Cal LCR Honda 148
8. Petrucci Danilo Alma Pramac Racing 144
9. Iannone Andrea Team Suzuki Ecstar 133
10. Lorenzo Jorge Ducati Team 130
11. Pedrosa Dani Repsol Honda Team 106
12. Bautista Alvaro Angel Nieto Team 105
13. Miller Jack Alma Pramac Racing 91
14. Morbidelli Franco Marc VDS Racing Team 50
15. Espargaro Aleix Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 44
16. Syahrin Hafizh Monster Yamaha Tech 3 40
17. Rabat Tito Reale Avintia Racing 35
18. Espargaro Pol Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 35
19. Smith Bradley Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 30
20. Nakagami Takaaki LCR Honda 23
21. Redding Scott Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 15
22. Abraham Karel Angel Nieto Team 10
23. Kallio Mika Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 6
24. Bradl Stefan Honda Racing Corporation 3
25. Nakasuga Katsuyuki Yamaha Factory Team 2
26. Simeon Xavier Reale Avintia Racing 1
27. Pirro Michele Ducati Team 1
28. Luthi Thomas Marc VDS Racing Team 0
29. Torres Jordi MV Agusta Reparto Corse 0
30. Jones Mike Reale Avintia Racing 0
31. Guintoli Sylvain Pata Yamaha Official WSBK Team 0
32. Ponsson Christophe Ponsson C. 0
MotoGP Malaysia Marquez GP AN
Sepang MotoGP – AJRN Image
MotoGP Team Standings
Pos Team Points
1. Repsol Honda Team 427
2. Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 388
3. Ducati Team 363
4. Suzuki MotoGP 282
5. Alma Pramac Racing 235
6. Monster Yamaha Tech 3 189
7. LCR Honda 174
8. Angel Nieto Team 102
9. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 65
10. Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 59
11. Estrella Galicia 0,0 50
12. Reale Avintia Racing 36
MotoGP Malaysia Marquez GP AN
Sepang MotoGP – AJRN Image

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Boris Mihailovic
Boris is a writer who has contributed to many magazines and websites over the years, edited a couple of those things as well, and written a few books. But his most important contribution is pissing people off. He feels this is his calling in life and something he takes seriously. He also enjoys whiskey, whisky and the way girls dance on tables. And riding motorcycles. He's pretty keen on that, too.