— MotoGP 2012 – Round 16 – Sepang
— Pedrosa brings title within reach as Cortese crowned in Sepang

On a race weekend at the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang that saw all three classes affected by the elements in one way or another it was Moto3™ rider Sandro Cortese that stole the headlines by grabbing his maiden GP title, whilst Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa stunned all with a masterful display in a drenched premier-class race. In a dramatic MotoGP™ race hit by torrential rain and a raft of crashes, Pedrosa took the win ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner, bringing his title aspirations firmly within reach.Sandro

It was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo who got the holeshot ahead of Pedrosa, while Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi got a good start from 11th to move into fourth within the first lap. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso, who had a bad start, was carving his way through the pack and soon got past Rossi into fourth to chase down Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner in third.

Lorenzo, having opted for the softer option wet rear tyre, had a small margin over Pedrosa with 18 laps to go, who had the harder rear tyre. All Yamahas on the grid as well as Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham had opted for the soft-rear, hard-front combination, with all others running with hards front and rear. A lap later however and Pedrosa was breathing down Lorenzo’s neck having closed the gap to a fraction of a second.

Further afield Stoner was leading a group, about five seconds off the leading duo, with Dovizioso, Rossi, LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista and Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow. With 12 laps remaining, Pedrosa was continuing to stick to Lorenzo’s rear wheel as the pair looked locked in a stalemate out on track. Further back on the same lap, Yamaha’s Bes Spies suffered a heavy crash out of tenth place, putting a premature end to his race. He was taken to the medical centre to check on a shoulder injury, and was later declared ok.

Rossi also dropped from behind Dovizioso back into ninth, as his teammate Hayden fought his way up to fifth. A lap further on and it was drama for Dovizioso as he also slid out of the race, which continued to be pummelled with rain. It was in the final turn of this lap that Pedrosa made a move stick on Lorenzo to take the lead just over the halfway point, and the Repsol rider instantly looked more comfortable in front, pulling a small gap. In the meantime, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards retired with a mechanical option.

As the grid headed into lap nine there were further crashes in the final turn as Crutchlow slid off, followed almost directly in the same place by Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet. It was a crash strewn lap, with Bradl also losing the front of his satellite Honda, and Avintia Blusens’ Iván Silva also crashing out. Back on track Rossi looked in his element as he squeezed past Bautista into fifth. Things were also getting interesting at the front as Lorenzo was being not only dropped off by Pedrosa, but also being closed down by Stoner at a very quick rate.

The rain was coming down heavily with 15 laps left, and Lorenzo suffered a very scary moment, where he saved a near crash just seconds before the Red Flag was shown due to safety concerns. After much deliberating as to whether a re-start would be possible, conditions deteriorated, and the win was awarded to Pedrosa, with Lorenzo and Stoner completing the rostrum. This now puts Pedrosa within 23-points, less than one race-win, of title rival Lorenzo, with 50-points still up for grabs in the final two races. Hayden recorded a fantastic fourth, ahead of Rossi, Bautista, Barberá, De Puniet’s teammate Espargaró, Paul Bird Motorsport’s James Ellison and Abraham.

Race Result – Round 16
1 Dani Pedrosa 29’29.049 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
2 Jorge Lorenzo +3.774 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
3 Casey Stoner +7.144 AUS HONDA Repsol Honda TeamJorge

4 Nicky Hayden +10.518 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
5 Valentino Rossi +16.759 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
6 Alvaro Bautista +17.276 SPA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
7 Hector Barbera +50.282 SPA DUCATI Pramac Racing
8 Aleix Espargaro +51.585 ESP ART Aspar Team MotoGP
9 James Ellison +56.676 GBR ART Paul Bird Racing
10 Karel Abraham +57.622 CZE DUCATI Cardion AB Motoracing
11 Danilo Petrucci +1’02.805 ITA IODA Ioda Racing Project
12 Michele Pirro +1’02.891 ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
13 Andrea Dovizioso +1’28.989 ITA YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Championship standings
1 Jorge Lorenzo 330 pts SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
2 Dani Pedrosa 307 pts SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
3 Casey Stoner 213 pts AUS HONDA Repsol Honda Team
4 Andrea Dovizioso 195 pts ITA YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
5 Alvaro Bautista 154 pts SPA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
6 Valentino Rossi 148 pts ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
7 Cal Crutchlow 135 pts GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
8 Stefan Bradl 125 pts GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
9 Nicky Hayden 114 pts USA DUCATI Ducati Team
10 Ben Spies 88 pts USA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
11 Hector Barbera 79 pts SPA DUCATI Pramac Racing
12 Aleix Espargaro 63 pts ESP ART Aspar Team MotoGP
13 Randy De Puniet 53 pts FRA ART Aspar Team MotoGP
14 Karel Abraham 43 pts CZE DUCATI Cardion AB Motoracing
15 Michele Pirro 30 pts ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
16 James Ellison 28 pts GBR ART Paul Bird Racing
17 Yonny Hernandez 28 pts COL BQR-FTR BQR
18 Colin Edwards 25 pts USA SUTER NGM Mobile Forward Racing
19 Jonathan Rea 17 pts GBR HONDA Repsol Honda Team
20 Danilo Petrucci 16 pts ITA IODA Ioda Racing Project

NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis took his maiden-Moto2™ win this season in a hugely dramatic and soaking wet Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang, finishing ahead of Anthony West and Gino Rea.Dani

Following a torrential downpour before the start, the race was delayed by half an hour and declared wet by Race Direction. The first corner took its first casualty as Italtrans Racing Team’s Takaaki Nakagami dropped his bike out of the lead. A few bends later there was a further crash with JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco and Tech 3 Racing’s Xavier Siméon, also causing Marc VDS Racing Team’s Mika Kallio to run off track.

The early stages were being led by Blusens Avintia’s Julián Simón, De Angelis and Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Gino Rea, with the Brit making terrific headway in the early stages. Nakagami, who had re-mounted, fell once again after colliding with JiR Moto2’s Eric Granado, who later retired. QMMF Racing Team’s Anthony West had fought his way into fourth and Kallio’s teammate Redding was in fifth 17 laps in, as Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi was handed a ride-through penalty for a jump-start.

A lap later, Rea’s teammate Ratthapark Wilairot lost the front of his bike, as Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez held steady in sixth, ahead of his Tuenti Movil HP 40 title rival Pol Espargaró, who was struggling in 12th. The weather added yet another cruel twist, as sun started to dry out the track rapidly, with a dry line forming quickly. Márquez was not taking any risks, and Petronas Raceline Malaysia’s wildcard Hafizh Syahrin soon made his way past, much to the delight of the home fans.

With 13 laps remaining De Angelis was in the lead, yet Rea was having great ride and was putting the pressure on the San Marino rider, as West made his way into third past Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi. A lap later Syahrin was on a mission as he soon powered past West into third, and then skilfully took De Angelis, and then out-braked Rea for first in an amazing trio of overtakes. With nine laps remaining the rain started to fall heavier once more, and Rea began to fight back with Syahrin holding strong, until De Angelis and West also got involved in the battle for first.

There was however huge drama with seven laps remaining as Márquez lost the front of his bike and crashed out of the race, with Espargaró in a strong enough position to take the title fight to the next race. On the same lap there were also crashes for Kiefer Racing’s Mike Di Meglio and Mapfre Aspar Moto2 duo of Nico Terol and Jordi Torres. A lap later, Lüthi also put his bike in the gravel.

With four laps left De Angelis was pulling out a small gap in front with West in tow, but Rea was fighting back venomously as a three-way tussle ensued. This was however cut short as the Red Flag was shown with two laps to go with too much rain falling on the track. Rea was in the lead when the flag was waved, yet the classification was taken from the previous lap, giving De Angelis his maiden win of the season, with West is second and Rea in third, both taking their first-ever Moto2™ podiums.

With Márquez’s title rival Espargaró finishing in 11th place, Márquez was unable to secure his title with only a 48-point lead and will have to try once more in Phillip Island. Fourth place went to Syahrin, ahead of Simón, Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone, Kallio, Smith, Technomag-CIP’s Dominique Aegerter and Espargaró’s teammate Esteve Rabat.

At this weekend’s race at the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang, Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese won the inaugural Moto3™ world title after an enthralling victory ahead of Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Jonas Folger.

The race got underway in scorching hot but dry conditions with AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin taking the holeshot into the tricky turn one, with Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger taking the led within a few bends. JHK t-shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez was mixing it up in third from the start, with Cortese fighting him for the podium spot. Mahindra Racing’s Ricardo Moretti crashed out of the race a few laps in, yet fortunately walked away from the incident unhurt. Racing Team Germany’s Louis Rossi had made his way into fourth with 16 laps left, as he attacked Cortese for third. Behind him, RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom had fought his way up to fifth, as a leading group of five started to pull away at the front with 13 laps remaining.

On the same lap there was drama for Frenchman Rossi, as he crashed out of contention, fortunately avoiding any of the other riders and escaping unscathed. This gave Estrella Galicia 0,0 duo Miguel Oliveira and Alex Rins, as well as Red Bull’s Danny Kent a chance to close in on the group. Ten laps from the end and Salom made his way past Cortese on the home straight, as the Spaniard looked to keep the title race alive.

A lap later and Mahindra’s Danny Kent had his race ended prematurely with mechanical problems, whilst Cortese got back past Salom, who had a wobble on track. With eight laps remaining another twist was added as a few rain flags came out in some corners on the track. And this prompted Khairuddin to make his move on Folger to take the lead, much to the delight of the local crowd. But Folger was fighting back fiercely, though with the Malaysian sporting superior speed on the home straight.Casey

And it was fairing to fairing with the front two as Cortese stalked the pair from behind. Salom, who had dropped off, was battling Oliveira heavily for fourth. Cortese however was not content to stick it out, as he went past Folger into second to hunt down Khairuddin. And it was a typically breath-taking Moto3 last-lap, with Cortese passing the Malaysian in the final turn to deny him victory at his home track.

Cortese’s victory made him the first man ever to take the Moto3™ title, whilst Khairuddin took his first ever GP podium. Folger completed the rostrum closely behind. Cortese is now the youngest-ever German to win the lightweight class, and only the fourth of his countryman to do so. It is also the first time that a MotoGP category has been won by a KTM machine. Fourth spot went to Salom, ahead of Oliveira, Kent, Rins, Vázquez, TT Motion Events Racing’s Niklas Ajo and Vázquez’s teammate Adrian Martín.

— HRC Report

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) won a shortened Malaysian Grand Prix in thunderous, rain-lashed conditions at Sepang this afternoon. The result was his third consecutive victory and reduces the advantage of World Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) to 23 points with two races remaining. Team-mate Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) finished third in his second race since returning from injury.

Pedrosa’s win gave the Spaniard his first premier-class hat-trick and continues a remarkable run of form that has seen him win four of the last five rounds aboard his Honda RC213V.
It was also his sixth success of the year and his first victory in the rain.

The race got underway on a wet track, with steady raining falling, following earlier downpours that had seen the Moto2 race delayed due to a flooded track. About halfway through the 20-lap MotoGP race the rain intensified, triggering a rash of crashes, including Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) who had been going well in sixth place.

Bradl, like all the other fallers, was not hurt, but by now conditions were rapidly worsening and there was standing water in several areas. Halfway through lap 14 the Race Director stopped the race, counting the results from lap 13. But because two-thirds race distance had not been completed, Race Direction considered a restart, until it was decided that conditions were too dangerous.

Pedrosa started well from second on the grid, while Lorenzo charged into the lead. Within a couple of laps Pedrosa was on the back wheel of his compatriot and getting into his rhythm. At half-distance he out-braked Lorenzo into the final turn and quickly built a gap, then controlled his RCV brilliantly as the conditions became increasingly treacherous. Four laps later the race was red-flagged. By then six of the 20 starters had crashed out.

Stoner only came back from injury at Motegi last weekend, so the Australian was delighted to score his first podium since he won July’s US GP. With his right ankle still healing, he had considered not racing because it’s so easy to fall in the rain and because he didn’t want to risk putting himself out for the rest of his final season.

During the early laps Stoner was at the head of the pack fighting over third, then he steadily established himself in that position before starting to close on Lorenzo when the rain got heavier. Had the race gone full distance he was sure he could have passed Lorenzo and challenged for the win.

The Repsol Honda Team riders’ double podium secured the MotoGP team championship for the second consecutive year. Honda still have the chance to add the constructors’ and riders’
titles in the final two races of the year.

Bradl was running strongly in sixth, just behind Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) and just ahead of Valentino Rossi (Ducati) when he ran into engine-braking issues. The rookie adjusted the engine-braking map on his RCV but continued to struggle, then fell at the extra-slippery turn seven which had already claimed three other riders.

Like most riders, Bautista believes that Race Direction made the right call to stop the race when they did, because the track was “like a river”. The Spaniard rode well in spite of some issues on the bumps while braking.Aleix_pack

Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) was third CRT rider home, finishing in 12th spot. The rain was a disappointment for the Italian who had make good progress on his bike during morning warm-up and was confident of a strong showing in the dry. He crossed the line just a fraction of a second behind Danilo Petrucci (Suter BMW).

Alex De Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing – FTR) won the shortened Moto2 race, also run in challenging, ever-changing conditions. The Honda-powered event started late after a torrential downpour that hit the track after the opening Moto3 event. During the early stages of the Moto2 race the track was soaking in some parts, almost dry in others, but the heavens opened once again during the closing stages, forcing the Race Director to bring out the red flags.

The race was a thriller, with de Angelis fighting for much of the 15 laps with the local wild card and two riders who always shine in rainy conditions. Local hero Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia – FTR) was the surprise of the race, while Anthony West (QMMF Racing Team – Speed Up) and Gino Rea (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 – Suter) are well known for their wet-weather prowess.

Syahrin, who had qualified 27th in the dry, led for several laps. His riding brought the crowd to its feet but in the end he could not quite stay with the other three and had to be content with a close fourth-place finish. Nonetheless the result was an impressive achievement for the 18-year-old Malaysian who usually rides in the Spanish CEV
Moto2 series. This was Syahrin’s second GP ride, following his World Championship debut in last year’s Malaysian Moto2 race.

De Angelis really got his head down when the rain came back in earnest, opening a two-second lead. But that was quickly swallowed up by Rea and West, Rea sliding into the lead at the end of lap 16. Moments later the red flags were displayed and the result was taken back a lap to lap 15, because some riders had not completed lap 16 when the red flags came out. That made de Angelis the winner, just ahead of West and Rea.

Julian Simon (Blusens Avintia – Suter) was fifth, a few seconds down on Syahrin after Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock-Suter) had slid off as the rain returned. The Swiss was one of many fallers, including World Championship leader Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) who was on course to secure the 2012 world title until he fell on lap 13. Marquez had been riding with Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up), who slid off and remounted to finish sixth.

Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team – Kalex), Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing – Tech 3), Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP Suter) and Esteve Rabat (Pons 40 HP Tuenti – Kalex) completed the top ten.

Marquez’s championship rival Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex) could only manage 11th at the finish, but that result was enough to keep his title hopes alive for another race.

Sandro Cortese (KTM) secured the first-ever Moto3 World Championship with a thrilling last-corner victory over local hero Zulfahmi Khairuddin (KTM) in the day’s opening race.

Honda’s top finisher was Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) who spent much of the race – run in the dry but with a few spots of rain – involved in an entertaining battle with team-mate Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) and KTM riders Luis Salom and Danny Kent. Oliveira crossed the line in fifth place, 0.171s behind Salom and just ahead of Kent. Rins dropped back from the group in the final laps to finish seventh.

Efren Vazquez (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse – FTR Honda) started superbly from the third row of the grid to hold third place at the end of the first lap. However, the Spaniard couldn’t maintain that front-running pace and slipped back to finish the race in a lonely eighth position.

Louis Rossi (Racing Team Germany – FTR Honda) had high hopes of a great race after qualifying just off the front row of the grid. The Frenchman started brilliantly, fighting for third place until he slid off on lap six.Aleix

Adrian Martin (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse – FTR Honda) completed the top ten, after a frantic skirmish with half a dozen rivals.

The MotoGP circus now continues its Asian-Pacific adventure and heads to Australia for next weekend’s penultimate Grand Prix at Phillip Island. The season concludes back in Europe, at Valencia, on November 11.

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: race winner
“This victory is really amazing for me. It’s the first time I’ve won in the wet in my life and I’m really, really happy. I want to thank my team and the people who helped me to get here because when I started racing in these conditions I was weak and they know how difficult it’s been during all this time! Jorge set a really high pace at the beginning of the race and I remained calm to stay with him. I knew he was on a soft rear tyre and he could pull out some good laps at the start. Lap by lap I got a little more confident and I could still push and at half way in the race I overtook him and built a good gap. Some laps later the rain came down heavy and it was hard to stay on the bike. I was lucky to be able to win this race, and also Jorge to finish second because he was almost on the ground. So, I’m happy for the victory, but especially happy to be able to dedicate it to Ginés [Guirado], a good friend and member of the Repsol Honda Team that sadly passed away yesterday. This one is for you!”

Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: 2nd
“At the start of the race, I would have been very happy for a podium. I was considering not taking part in the rain at all as the risks were very high – if I had come off the bike again and hit my ankle, it would have been game over for the rest of the season. As the race progressed I slowly got my confidence back and I was working on different things as I hadn’t ridden in the wet in quite some time. I slowly began to catch the front two, but unfortunately ran out of time as the red flagged the race. In a lot of ways I’m disappointed, but I’m happy with the points haul we took today and another podium.”

Alvaro Bautista, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 6th “Racing in these conditions is always a lottery. It was raining at the start, but not too much and I was able to ride well, with confidence in the bike. The only problem was under braking and I had trouble trying to control the bike over the bumps. I was close to crashing but I tried to adapt as best I could. Towards the end, the track was like a river and I was aquaplaning down the straight. It was the right call to stop the race. I am happy because we improved our feeling with the bike in the wet but we still need to work on our chatter problems.”

Michel Pirro, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 12th “I am disappointed because we found a good solution for our chatter problems this morning and the race was looking good, especially for the second half. I felt we had a chance to fight to be the top CRT. Then the rain came and ruined everything for us because we still have so much work to do with this bike in the wet. Anyway, we fought hard and could have still fought to be the top CRT if the red flags came later because I was the only one with the hard rear tyre. Now we want to hang on to third place in the CRT standings. I want to thank the team for their efforts here. I wanted a better result to dedicate to Marco, but it will have to be next time.”

Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: DNF
“First of all we must check the data to understand what happened. I took a very good start from eighth place, but it was pretty tough out there because of the wet and slippery surface. But I could lap with a good pace and constant speed but after some laps I had to change the map because we had too much engine-braking. Since that moment something changed and the engine was pushing me in the corner entries and I lost two positions because I did not know what was going on. After that I came back to the standard engine-brake setting, but it was too much in those difficult conditions and I started to be slower. In the heavy rain I was more careful but suddenly I lost the rear and crashed out. I do not think it was completely my fault and I feel sorry for me and the team.”

Moto2 rider quotes

Alex De Angelis, NGM Mobile Forward Racing: race winner The conditions were so crazy; they were changing all the time. I made a very good first lap, making a lot of overtakes, then I chose fourth position to control the other riders. The bike was perfect – could brake very quickly, open the gas very quickly and change my line whenever I wanted. I’m very happy because this year has been difficult for us. My thanks to my sponsors and the team – we will keep pushing hard. It’s been one year now [since the passing of Marco Simoncelli], so ciao Marco!”

Anthony West, QMMF Racing Team: 2nd
“It’s been a while since we’ve been on the podium, that’s for sure. There’s been a few chances in the past which I’ve missed, so it’s good to be back near the front. In fact I need more experience at the front because I came charging through at start and got into third or fourth really quickly. Then I relaxed too much, and Alex and Rea were putting in a good pace. The conditions were so difficult. It was really hard – in some parts of the track I was quicker and some parts I wasn’t. Then I made a few mistakes at the end – the conditions were crazy. I really have to thank my team because I didn’t think I’d be racing this year at all, and here we are on the podium. I’m glad to repay them with a result.”

Gino Rea, Federal Oil Gresini Moto2: 3rd “I got into the lead and that’s when the red flags came out, so it was frustrating, but at least I got my first GP podium. My first year in
Moto2 has been a difficult – we haven’t quite been able to get the bike working in dry. In the wet it levels things a bit, so I can ride like a want. I’ve got a good feel for the bike and I can try and make things work. I got a pretty good start. The first few corners and laps were pretty hairy, but once I got to the front I felt pretty comfortable. I had a couple of moments, then when the track started to dry I struggled and a few guys came past. I prayed for more rain and when it did rain I came back to front and started to get a good feeling. It was tricky conditions towards the end. Now I’d like to thanks everyone who got me here into Moto2.”

— Yamaha Report

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo endured a treacherous ordeal to take second in this afternoon’s Grand Prix of Malaysia. The Championship leader took the hole shot from pole on the wet track with closest rival Dani Pedrosa in pursuit less than half a second behind. Lorenzo maintained his lead until just before the last corner on lap nine where Pedrosa was able to pass. The rain increased at this point making riding extremely difficult for the entire grid, Lorenzo himself miraculously saving a near fall into turn 15. The red flags were eventually brought out to halt the race on lap 13 after a number of riders fell in the treacherous conditions. The second place finish means Lorenzo moves on to the final two races with a 23 point lead in the Championship.

Lorenzo’s team mate Ben Spies had dropped three places from the start grid, working hard to avoid another rider spinning off the line. As a result he went into the first corner in ninth position, then dropping to tenth on lap three. The Texan then found an impressive race pace matching the front runners and looked threatening to move up the field until disaster struck on the eighth lap as he became one of the many victims to fall in the incredibly slippery conditions. The DNF means Spies heads to the final two races of the season remaining on 88 points in tenth position.

Jorge Lorenzo / Position 2nd – Time: +3.774
“If we were riding at 20km per hour it is easy to stay on the bike but it is very difficult to find the limit in these conditions. They made the right decision to stop the race, for us it was great because we might otherwise have finished on the ground and crashed. We used the soft rear where Dani and Casey used the harder one. When the conditions were ok they used less of the centre of the tyre so when the conditions became worse they had more to play with.”

Ben Spies / DNF
“What a shocking race, the water on the track was incredible. I’m really sorry for rubbing into Nicky, I thought I had enough space to brake; I’m relieved we didn’t go down together and he was ok. It was a close one at the start as well, Dovi spun off the line and we were lucky not to make contact. That was one of the wettest races I’ve had in a long time, my shoulder’s really sore from the fall but thankfully nothing too serious so I’ll be able to ride in Australia.”

Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager 
“A very wet race! I think Jorge did great, he tried in the beginning to get away and escape, finally he kept a bit of safety to stay on two wheels. In the end second position is great for the Championship. We still have two races to go and he is ready to try again in Phillip Island.”

Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“The conditions were very bad today, I think the decision to stop the race was the right one. The safety of the riders has to be guaranteed. We are leaving here with 23 points, still leading the Championship which is important. Hopefully Ben can have different results in the next two races; fortunately he didn’t receive any serious injuries and should be fine for Phillip Island. We won’t be going there looking to finish in second place.”

Dovizioso and Crutchlow fall in Malaysian monsoon

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow both fell out of contention while challenging for the top five in monsoon conditions at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia this afternoon.

The 20-lap race started in treacherous conditions, but Dovizioso and Crutchlow quickly calculated how hard they could attack the rain-soaked Sepang track, despite having no previous wet time on track this weekend.

Italian Dovizioso immediately put himself in contention for a seventh podium finish of the season and he was in hot pursuit of reigning World Champion Casey Stoner. But with the rain getting heavier and track conditions worsening by the second, he crashed out of fourth position on lap 10.

Dovizioso was able to remount his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine and re-join the action in 14th position. The race was then red flagged on lap 13 with Race Direction halting proceedings as standing water began to appear in sections of the track.

With seven laps still to be completed, a scheduled restart was later abandoned with the conditions showing no sign of improving and full World Championship points were awarded, with Dovizioso picking up three points for 13th.

British rider Crutchlow was also having a very strong race after a cautious start. The 26-year-old expertly judged where he could push without too many risks to climb from 10th to fifth. He had just passed Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl when he fell out of contention at the final corner on lap 11.

The spill cost Crutchlow more precious points in his quest to finish fifth in the World Championship rankings but he is confident he can return to the podium battle in next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island.

Andrea Dovizioso / Position 13th – Time: +1’28.989
“It’s a real pity that the rain came this afternoon. We did such a good job during the weekend with the bike in the dry and we started strong from the first session, so to find these really bad conditions was unlucky for us today. I was ready for a really hard race in hot weather and I’m sure I would have been fighting for the podium in the dry. We can’t change it and I certainly didn’t have the same good feeling in the wet. I had a big slide off the start and lost some places but I managed to get into a fast pace quite quickly. It is very difficult to start a race in the rain with no other time on track in the wet all weekend. I was quite fast but I was lacking rear grip. I could brake very strong but I struggled at exit of the corner. I pushed really hard trying to pass Casey and I lost the front without braking while at maximum angle. I still managed to score some points and finish the race but we expected much more and I am determined to bounce back quickly next week in Australia.”

Cal Crutchlow / DNF
“It has been a pretty disappointing weekend to be honest and another DNF has really hurt my chances of finishing fifth in the Championship because Valentino and Alvaro were behind me in the race. When I crashed the rain had really started to fall heavily and I was braking upright. I must have hit some standing water but I was down with no chance to save it. We struggled all weekend to find a good set-up in the dry and I had no rear grip. Unfortunately it was the same in the rain and we need to understand why for the future. I had to make up all my time on the brakes and I was pushing and got caught out. Phillip Island is a track I love, so hopefully I can put the disappointment of here and Japan behind me to finish the season strong.”

Hervé Poncharal – Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager 
“We were really confident last night after Andrea had finished on the front row of the grid. He was very positive that he could battle for the podium again and we were even thinking that he might be able to push Dani and Jorge in the dry. But the weather played a pivotal role today and it turned out to be a very disappointing afternoon for us. The conditions were very unpredictable but Andrea and Cal were doing a very good job. Andrea was pushing very hard and after only two laps he was back in fourth and in the hunt for the podium. It is a pity that he crashed because we were confident that he was going to put pressure on Casey and go for the podium. It is the same story for Cal. At the stage of the race he crashed the conditions were incredibly difficult and I suppose we can be thankful that both of them are fit for Phillip Island. It wasn’t a good result for the Championship but at least Cal was fighting inside the top five again. I don’t think anybody can say the race wasn’t stopped at the right time and hopefully we will have dry weather in Australia and both of them will be pushing for the rostrum.”

— Ducati Report

Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Malaysian Grand Prix, which was marked by very wet conditions.

Rain had already fallen during the Moto3 race, which saw German Sandro Cortese take the win and the title, and it had an even bigger influence on the Moto2 race, which started late and ended early. But it was the MotoGP race that was most affected, with delays, crashes and eventually a premature finish. Nicky Hayden passed the chequered flag in fourth place, having lapped at a competitive pace and avoided mistakes.

After an excellent start from the fourth row, Valentino Rossi was fifth at the end of lap one, and until eleven laps from the end, he was involved in a fight with Dovizioso and Stoner for the third step of the podium. With the rain increasing in intensity, he ran long in turn 7, dropping to ninth place as a result. From there, he once again advanced as high as fifth place, when the red flag fell seven laps before the scheduled finish. With the rain only falling harder after that, the decision was made not to restart the race.

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 4th
“Those were really tough conditions. I got a good launch, but when Dovizioso got sideways in front of me, I shut off the throttle and lost positions. I was able to recover, but I lost some confidence when the rear tried to come around a couple times. I had to be really patient in the beginning, but once I got rolling, I had good rhythm. It was clearly the right decision to call the race. There was a lot of water those last couple of laps, and it was almost impossible to see, although the rear lights on the bikes helped a lot. In dry conditions, I would’ve been thrilled with fourth, but I know our potential is higher in the wet. It would’ve been amazing to give my guys a podium today, but it’s a decent result. Hopefully, it can help me come out of the difficult period and give us something to build on.”

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 5th
“Our race wasn’t bad because I got a great start despite being so far back, on the fourth row, and then I managed to be pretty fast. I was riding with Dovizioso and Stoner, when unfortunately I started having some problems with my visor fogging, and in those extreme conditions, with low light and a lot of water, it was very difficult. I made a mistake in turn 7, and I was lucky not to crash because it was the same point where Dovizioso, Spies and then Bradl went down. Without that mistake, I could have finished fourth because honestly, Stoner was a bit faster than I was, especially in T2. In general though, it didn’t go bad. Of course I would’ve liked to finish the full race, but there was really too much water. I think the decision to stop was correct because in these conditions, the bikes can aquaplane and you can go down in any corner.”

Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager
“It was certainly a strange Sunday, with conditions that we hadn’t ridden in the whole weekend. We started with the tyres as an unknown and opted for the hard rain, which in the end turned out to be a good choice. Both Nicky and Vale were very good because they brought home a good haul of points in an extremely difficult situation that cost many others. Our bike performs very well in wet conditions, and both riders took good advantage of that.”