Dovi scythes smoothly to the front for Sepang Victory
Marc Marquez leads by 21-points heading to Valencia Finale
It was a must win in many ways for Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso as the paddock arrived at Sepang International Circuit, and the Italian kept calm under intense pressure to secure his sixth win of the season – and take the Championship fight down to the wire.
Slicing through the rain to catch and pass teammate Jorge Lorenzo, Dovizioso was seven tenths clear of the Majorcan at the flag in a 1-2 for Ducati – and key rival Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) crossed the line in fourth.
Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completed the podium after a stunning start, wrapping up the title of top Independent Team rider.
It was Marquez who took an incredible initial holeshot from the third row, but the reigning Champion headed wide along with Lorenzo – allowing Zarco to slice through into the lead.
Once there, the Frenchman lit it up to escape into the distance, and Lorenzo moved through to chase the Tech 3 rider down. Marquez slotted into third, with Dovizioso initially the man to lose out – but the Italian soon began to move through.
Zarco’s lead began to diminish, Dovizioso passed Marquez, and then both Ducatis were able to pass the Frenchman. It seemed Marquez would have the pace to take third from Zarco, but the reigning Champion couldn’t make up the ground.
At the front, Lorenzo was holding firm as the two red machines streaked away – but the number 99 then suffered a moment at Turn 15 with a foot off the footpeg. ‘DesmoDovi’ saw his chance to strike, then facing down some nervous laps as the end of the race neared. Lorenzo brought it back to seven tenths over the line, with Zarco back on the rostrum in third.
Marquez was eight seconds further back in fourth, with polesitter and teammate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) completing the top five after a more promising showing in the wet for the former winner at the venue in similar conditions.
Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) put in a superstar performance in the wet as he was forced to start from the back after a technical problem with his number one bike, and moved up to take sixth over the line – a gain of over 15 places.
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was close to his compatriot by the end of the race to take seventh and only four tenths back, ahead of a more lonely finish for EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller into P8.
Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) had a tough race for ninth, with Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory) giving KTM another consecutive top ten finish after another impressive race.
Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) took P11, with the points scorers completed by Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing), Hector Barbera (Reale Avintia Racing) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda.)
It’s now truly everything or nothing for the two title challengers, and the Championship comes back to Europe for the final showdown at Valencia. Marquez leads by 21 points, so it’s a long shot for ‘DesmoDovi’…but never, ever say never.
Sepang MotoGP 2017 Race Results
- DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA 25 Ducati Team Ducati 44’51.497
- LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA 20 Ducati Team Ducati 0.743
- ZARCO Johann 5 FRA 16 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 9.738
- MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA 13 Repsol Honda Team Honda 17.763
- PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA 11 Repsol Honda Team Honda 29.144
- PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA 10 Octo Pramac Racing Ducati 30.380
- ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA 9 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 30.769
- MILLER Jack 43 AUS 8 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 35.238
- VINALES Maverick 25 SPA 7 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 38.053
- ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA 6 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 39.847
- BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA 5 Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 42.559
- SMITH Bradley 38 GBR 4 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 44.602
- REDDING Scott 45 GBR 3 Octo Pramac Racing Ducati 48.696
- BARBERA Hector 8 SPA 2 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 50.058
- CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR 1 LCR Honda Honda 50.705
- VAN DER MARK Michael 60 NDL 0 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 56.397
- IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA 0 Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 58.391
- RABAT Tito 53 SPA 0 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 1’25.571
- LOWES Sam 22 GBR 0 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 11 laps
- ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE 0 Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 12 laps
- BAZ Loris 76 FRA 0 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 15 laps
- RINS Alex 42 SPA 0 Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki MotoGP
MotoGP World Championship Points Standings
- Marc MARQUEZ Honda SPA 282
- Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 261
- Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha SPA 226
- Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 197
- Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 185
- Johann ZARCO Yamaha FRA 154
- Jorge LORENZO Ducati SPA 137
- Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati ITA 121
- Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda GBR 104
- Jonas FOLGER Yamaha GER 84
- Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati SPA 75
- Jack MILLER Honda AUS 73
- Scott REDDING Ducati GBR 64
- Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia SPA 62
- Andrea IANNONE Suzuki ITA 60
- Pol ESPARGARO KTM SPA 55
- Alex RINS Suzuki SPA 46
- Loris BAZ Ducati FRA 45
- Karel ABRAHAM Ducati CZE 30
- Tito RABAT Honda SPA 29
- Hector BARBERA Ducati SPA 27
- Bradley SMITH KTM GBR 24
- Michele PIRRO Ducati ITA 18
- Mika KALLIO KTM FIN 11
- Sam LOWES Aprilia GBR 5