MotoGP Riders and Team Managers reflect on Sepang Malaysian MotoGP

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Andrea Dovizioso – P1

“It was very important for me to win a race this year: I’ve been trying for so long and I’ve come close on several occasions, so satisfaction for today’s result is truly immense. I really powered to the win, because in the first half of the race I could not push too hard, but I didn’t give up, I didn’t make any mistakes and at the right time I passed both Iannone and Rossi and set my own pace. I am very happy about the improvements we have made this year, both in the bike and with my team, but also on a personal level. I am working hard also for next year and this win, which has come at the end of the season, is just reward for all the efforts.”

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Valentino Rossi – P2

“My main target for today was to arrive in front of Jorge for second place in the championship, but I also wanted to win because I felt very good with the bike in the beginning. I had to fight a lot with Iannone and he was fast. After, when I went in front, I was very optimistic but when the water on the track became less the temperature went up, I was a bit in trouble with the tyres, especially with the front. I had two moments, I risked too much and I made a mistake and in that moment Dovizioso was too fast and he went. Securing second place in the championship is important, the battle with Lorenzo is always very intense and we always arrive at the last race. When you beat a rider that’s very strong, like Jorge, it’s great and in the end it has been a good season. I wanted to win, but it wasn’t possible.”

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Jorge Lorenzo – P3

“Being honest, today I’ve been lucky, because without the crashes I would have finished fifth or sixth. Crutchlow, Iannone and Marquez crashed and finally I got this podium and that’s OK. In the past I have been competitive in wet races, when I felt great. Especially with pit stops I have won races, I have secured podiums and got pole positions in the rain. In the wet, with the Michelin tyres this year, especially at the beginning, I had trouble getting confidence in the front tyre. It has been hard for me but after Brno we made some modifications to the setting and also this tarmac helps. At this track I had more grip than normal, so I had a bit more confidence and I was able to be more competitive. Maybe in the race a bit less than in qualifying, but finally because of some luck it was enough to get to the podium. We now go to Valencia with the aim to confirm the third place in the championship.”

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Hector Barbera – P4

“I’m really happy because this fourth place is incredible and also my best result in MotoGP ever. After two difficult races in Japan and Australia I really needed this result to get a boost of confidence and energy before my home race in Valencia. There is no doubt that this result came in the right moment. But although I’m very happy for myself, I’m also extremely happy for my teammate Loris, because he needed it even more than me. This result is fantastic for the whole team. We are showing this season that with hard work, big efforts and huge passion you can achieve important things. Avintia is the best example, because we don’t have the resources of many teams, but in passion we are world champions. We are in the top ten after 17 races, ahead of many factory bikes, and we go to Valencia determined to give our best again to close this fantastic season with the best possible result.”

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Loris Baz – P5

“Before the race I was praying for rain, because the last three weeks have been really tough for me. After this weekend, we go back home with a big smile on our faces. If we look at the dry track time I’ve spent this year riding my bike, it is obvious that I’m far away from the pace, so I needed some confidence and you can only get that fighting and working hard every single day. But this result is what we were looking for to get a boost of morale and work even harder. This has been a really good race and I enjoyed battling with Hector. It was also an amazing result for the team. The race was difficult because with less water on the track my rear tyre was overheating, so this top five is fantastic. Valencia is my team’s home race and feels also like a home race to me as I have a house close to the circuit, so we will try to keep the momentum and fight for the best.”

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Maverick Viñales – P6

“Although sixth place is not so bad, I’m disappointed with the race result. We had a very positive weekend and I performed very fast in the dry, I really had hopes for a podium and also for a victory, but unfortunately in wet conditions we are not competitive yet. We struggle to find a good configuration with the electronics, which makes my riding very hard, in particular when it comes to acceleration. I can’t feel confident with the traction control, therefore resulting in me riding very carefully as I didn’t want to incur a high-side that could prevent me finishing the race. We have made many improvements on the machine and now we have reached a positive competitiveness in dry conditions, but the progress we’ve made in the wet is not enough. This result also proved the positives of the last three races; they were at three completely different circuits and we’ve proved we can adapt and be strongly-competitive in any kind of layout. Now the objective is to have the same competitiveness no matter what the weather conditions.”

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Alvaro Bautista – P7

“Seventh place is a good result that came at the end of a weekend that was definitely positive. We demonstrated good performance throughout practice, even achieving the best starting position yet with Aprilia. In the race, however, we found conditions that were very different from the rest of the sessions. There was much more water, so the feeling with the bike was not the same. I controlled the situation in the first laps, taking care not to make any mistakes and trying to achieve as much as possible. We saw a lot of crashes. The track was anything but easy so, considering the fact that the sensations in the saddle were not the best, we can be satisfied with the result and head to Valencia to finish this season well”.

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Jack Miller – P8

“I am always looking for more but in the conditions today I can take this result, it was pretty good considering the really tricky conditions, it wasn’t easy to stay on the bike. All weekend I had not been comfortable with our set-up in the wet so I’m reasonably happy to bring it home in the top ten and be the first Honda rider. Now it’s off to Valencia and, hopefully, a strong finish to the season.”

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Pol Espargaro – P9

“It was a very hard race today and especially at the beginning where there was a lot of water on the track but I am glad to walk away with a top ten finish and some valuable championship points. Because of the rainwater on the asphalt, the visibility was limited and the more behind you were, the more time you lost in the first few laps as there weren’t any reference points regarding where to brake or accelerate, so it’s been really complicated. In addition, I didn’t want to risk making any mistakes, therefore we have to be content with this 9th position. However, this result has ensured my 8th place in the Championship standings, plus I am classified ahead of a couple of the factory MotoGP riders so it is pleasing to have ended the oversea races in this way. Now, we’ll head back to Europe for the final round of the 2016 season, which will also be my last event with Tech3 so I’m highly motivated to do the best job that I can.”

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Danilo Petrucci – P10

“It was very tough especially in the first few laps. I suffered a lot on the straights because there were large water-clouds and it was almost impossible to see anything. I had little confidence in the front and I could not brake properly. It was hard, but in the end I did it to make the Top 10, also becouse some of the riders in front crashed. I brought home important points because it was too difficult also to avoid a crash. I’m glad I did not crash, but I wanted to do much better.”

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Marc Marquez – P11

“Today was a difficult day. In the morning the weather was already unstable and finally the race was in the wet. Before the start I decided to use the carbon disc brakes, which gave me the chance to be stronger in braking. It was the right choice and it has nothing to do with my crash. At the beginning of the race I was riding quite comfortably in the leading group, trying to save the tires for the end of the race, but suddenly I crashed by losing the front at Turn 11. I thought I had a chance to finish on the podium here, but it was not to be, and it is better that this happens now that we already have the title. This experience will help us for next year and helps us appreciate the World Championship even more.”

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Eugene Laverty – P12

“I’m disappointed in myself because at the start I didn’t ride so good. I didn’t have a good feeling with the bike when there was a lot of water, I didn’t have confidence. Mainly I was losing in the braking. When the track wasn’t so wet my lap times were fantastic, my pace was fast like the guys at the front, so it is disappointing that I lost so much in the first six laps or so because the damage was done already. I came through strong to move up to twelfth and I was catching the group in front but unfortunately there wasn’t enough laps remaining to catch them and fight for maybe seventh or eight. It’s a missed opportunity but in the end the bike was good today.”   

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Aleix Espargaró – P13

“I’m disappointed with the final result because the weekend overall had been positive, but then in the race I couldn’t feel competitive. I decided to go with a soft rear tyre, hoping the conditions of the track would stay wetter, but at the end this proved to be the wrong choice. From the very beginning I realised that my performance was not good and I lost the feeling with the grip right after four-or-five laps. I also made a couple of mistakes, and doing them at the very beginning of the race, when all the riders were still packed together, meant I lost many positions and then it was really hard to recover. It’s a pity, we’ve made a lot of progress in the last few races and I felt very competitive in dry conditions, but we still need to improve our capability to have the same performance also in the wet.”

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Bradley Smith – P14

“I have to start by saying that the three back to back races have been fantastic and I am more than satisfied with the results. To come back from my injury and score three point scoring finishes is much better than what I was expecting. If we look at the bigger picture, the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team did a superb job as well as the Clinica Mobile medical staff who made sure that I could compete in every session. In terms of the race, it certainly was tough due to the conditions but we have to be content with another finish in the points, even if we were hoping for more. I decided to risk using the hard rear tyre but it is not a compound that I have liked in the past, even though my feeling with it in FP4 was ok on the whole. Unfortunately, with the amount of water that was on the track today, I wasn’t able to generate the right temperature into the rear tyre so it was tricky but I did my best and I don’t think that I could have given any more. It’s a pity to end up in 14th because we’ve had really good pace throughout the weekend, yet we have to look at the positives and take them onboard. Now, we will have a weekend off and then I will head to Valencia, ready for my final appearance with the Tech3 team, where I will do my absolute best.”

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Scott Redding – P15

It was a very difficult race because I had no rear grip. I never found the feeling with the rear tire but I must admit that others who went out with the hard were still competitive. It was hard since the start. I also risked crashing on warm up lap. I tried to push but I was never able to find the rhythm in order to recover on the Top 10. I hoped it to be a dry race because over the weekend we had a good feeling in the dry. To be honest I did not expect to struggle so much.”

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Hiroshi Aoyama – P16

“It was a rather tough race. When it started raining heavily, I think I could have finished in a better position, but unfortunately I had traffic in front of me for a few laps. When I passed Rabat, it was too late to catch the riders ahead. At first there was plenty of water on track and I could barely see what was ahead of me, so I couldn’t overtake. After a while, I saw that the sun was beginning to come out and I decided to push a little more, but my situation was not easy. This weekend the team worked very hard to get me comfortable and provide me with the best bike possible. I’m very glad to have been able to ride for the Repsol Honda Team, I thank the team again for the chance and hope that at the next race Dani can return.”

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Stefan Bradl – P17

“Not an easy weekend for us. Because of the variable weather and having a few new components to test, we were not able to prepare for the race in the best possible way. On top of that, I had the crash, after which I was able to rejoin, but I lost time and positions. I am disappointed. All we can do now is go back home and set our sights on a good result in the last race at Valencia”.

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Tito Rabat – P18

“Considering the disaster of qualifying in the rain and my struggle for confidence on a wet track it is very satisfying to make a good step in the race. Completing the race distance in difficult conditions gives me a lot of experience for the future. Today I knew my limit especially with the lean angle and I did not go over it even though I would like to be closer to the front.”

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Andrea Iannone – DNF

“It was a great race, I started off really strongly and aggressively and immediately had a great scrap with Rossi. I really enjoyed it a lot and in the end, even though I crashed, I am pleased because I gave 100%. In view of my position in the championship, I ran my own race without thinking of the points and I opted to take some risks right until the very end. During the weekend we were missing a little something, because we were not able to improve the set-up of the bike after yesterday. We had some ideas and we hoped that the race was going to be dry, but it didn’t turn out that way.”

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Cal Crutchlow – DNF

“I’m a little bit sore after what was a big crash. It wasn’t fast, in fact it was quite slow but I highsided off throttle. Marc almost had the same the lap before but he managed to stay on – he had the luck of landing back on the bike. I thought ‘don’t do what Marc did’, but I nearly ended up on the moon! I landed completely on my face and was a bit disorientated, but then was OK. I have some pain in my big toe and my foot, and in my hand which is broken from the qualifying crash. It was impossible to ride the bike again. It was a shame because it was a definite podium opportunity, but I was struggling with the acceleration. We need how to improve the traction control works because we just weren’t competitive enough in this area, and myself and Marc had to brake ‘hot’ all the time to make up for this. I tried my best and it didn’t work this time, but I’m most disappointed for my team because to spend the week here and get any points is a real shame. We go away happy enough because of recent results but we had to try today, and we did.”

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Yonny Hernández – DNF

“I had to pull out of the race here in Malaysia because the front tyre was on the limit. I went with the soft front and hard rear because it was raining so hard but I didn’t expect the track to dry out as much as it did. I didn’t have the same feeling as the last few days here, we don’t know why yet. Hopefully everything goes better in Valencia so that we can have a good weekend right the way through to the end, because it has been a tough season.”

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Luigi Dall’Igna – Ducati Corse General Manager

“I am really happy for Andrea Dovizioso’s win, he’s had an excellent season even though he has been out of luck on occasions, so his position in the standings does not reflect his true worth. Well done Andrea! He made a perfect race, controlling the situation in the early laps and then attacking at the right moment to bring home this splendid result, which was important both for him and the team. The Desmosedici GP has always gone well in the wet, but we know we still have to improve some aspects in the dry and we are making every effort to do so. Pity about Andrea Iannone, he was having a good race on his return after his crash at Misano.”

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Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“A double podium under today’s critical circumstances is the evidence the team did an excellent job again here in Sepang. Valentino rode a superb and perfect race and I am sure he would have battled with Dovizioso until the very end, if his front tyre would not have dropped so quickly on the 15th lap. He was great to read the situation at the beginning of the race and he was also very brave because he had to reject first Iannone’s attacks and then Dovi’s. As for Jorge, it was evident from the beginning of the race that he did not have the feeling on today’s flooded track but he was patient, his riding was very smooth and he was able to manage the situation for third place on the podium. We wrapped up the triple overseas races in the opposite way we started it. Although Vale has secured the second place in the overall standings, the third place is still open and therefore we head to Valencia now with the aim of having both riders on the final podium. I want to take this occasion to thank the whole team crew and all the staff, as the last three races have been a long and intense journey.”

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Michael Bartholemy – MarcVDS Team Principal

“The target was to finish the race for both riders and for Jack to be in the top ten and first Honda in these conditions is good result. For sure we did not have the set-up for Jack at 100% but overall I’m happy to finish the three flyaway races with this result. For Tito it was a difficult weekend and although he finished the race we need to look at what we can do for the final race in Valencia to help boost his feeling to be more competitive in MotoGP.”

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Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki Technical Manager

“It was a very disappointing race because in the dry sessions, like FP3 and also this morning’s warm-up, Maverick was very fast and also Aleix was very strong, so I was looking forward to the race in dry conditions. Unfortunately, rain came to ruin our plans; in the wet we struggled a lot, the only positive thing is that both riders finished the race without crashing, but this isn’t enough for us. We still struggle in the wet conditions, we managed to find some ways to improve, but still not enough. This will be our priority; we want to have a machine which is top-performing no matter what the conditions, both in the dry and also the wet. The next race will be the last race with Aleix and Maverick, so I really want to get well-prepared and have a positive race to end of our two years together.”

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Romano Albesiano – Aprilia Racing Manager

“We had a very interesting weekend, where we showed our increasing competitiveness, thanks in part to the new engine specification that allowed us to take a step forward in terms of top speed. In particular, Alvaro was in the top 10 throughout practice, both on the dry track and in the wet. The race was peculiar because of the conditions. I think that we need to take a step forward in terms of chassis and electronics setup when the track is very wet, but this is part of the growing process in this first season. I’m sorry about Stefan, who had shown excellent signs in the warmup session, but in the same way, the slide in the race is all part of the game”.

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Nicolas Goubert – Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme

“This has been yet another weekend when the weather has played a big part in the whole event. We never had a single session over the three-days where the track was completely dry, so we didn’t get to see the full potential of the slick tyres we brought here. With the damp patches the riders were quite cautious, but they did report they had very good feeling from both the front and rear and the wear levels looked good. We hoped for a dry race, but that was certainly not the case as the clouds opened and made the track very dangerous, so it was a good idea to delay the start. Throughout the race we saw many impressive overtaking manoeuvres and it was an extremely positive thing that the riders had so much trust to push so hard. The rain tyres worked very well in these conditions and we were very pleased with the consistency through the whole race. I want to congratulate Andrea Dovizioso on his victory, it has been incredible to have nine winners in a season and something that we are delighted to be a part of. We now move on to Valencia and the final round, but it also the beginning of a new season as well because there is an important test the week after, so we will be preparing some new tyres for the riders to try.”

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MotoGP 2016 Sepang - Race Result
MotoGP 2016 Sepang – Race Result
MotoGP 2016 - Championship Standings Sepang - MotoGP
MotoGP 2016 – Championship Standings Sepang – MotoGP