Marc Marquez equals Mick Doohan’s record of 12 premier class wins in a season with victory over Valentino Rossi at MotoGP Sepang
The MotoGP race at the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix was won by MotoGP™ World Champion Marc Marquez in the scorching afternoon heat at Sepang, with Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo also on the podium.
A huge crowd of more than 80,000 fans witnessed a great MotoGP race with Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) winning for the first time since Silverstone – riding superbly at round 17 and coming from behind after dropping back from pole on the first lap.
Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) took the early initiative in the race after a first crash by Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) who lost the front around Turn 15 while in second place.
Pedrosa recovered to 11th before suffering a second crash.
Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) took the lead at midrace stage as he got in front of Lorenzo and was followed through by Marquez. Two laps later Marquez pushed in front of the Italian and he built up a sufficient gap to defend his lead.
Marquez’s victory is the 12th of his second season in MotoGP, equaling Mick Doohan’s record of most premier class victories in a single season. The result seals the premier class Constructor’s title for Honda and ends a run of four Yamaha victories.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) beat Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) to the line for fourth as the Englishman closed in on the last lap, only to run long on the final corner.
Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) rode bravely to sixth place, having broken a bone in his foot in a big crash on Saturday.
Yonny Hernandez (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing) crossed the line seventh, staying upright having almost collided with Pol Espargaro’s rear wheel midrace.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was on course fourth again before he dropped several positions to eighth in the final laps, apparently suffering from a technical issue.
The top ten was completed by Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) and Scott Redding (GO&FUN Honda Gresini).
Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) and Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) both fell at Turn 1 on the second lap.
A mechanical problem forced an early retirement for Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team), his third DNF in three races.
Turn 9 saw Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar) lose the front as he chased his teammate Hiroshi Aoyama at the back of the top ten. Fellow Open Honda rider Karel Abraham (Cardio AB Motoracing) crashed some laps later.
Danilo Petrucci (Octo IodaRacing Team) retired with five laps to go, having been in a point scoring position. Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar) also fell, but was able to remount and finish 11th.
MotoGP Race Classification
Moto2: Patient Rabat takes Moto2 title in Malaysia as Viñales wins race
Tito Rabat won the Moto2™ title at the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix taking third place in a race won by Maverick Viñales, with Mika Kallio in second place.
Rabat made a good start from pole and looked like he would run away at the front but he rode calmly, doing enough to become a World Champion with a race to spare. With ten laps to go Rabat dropped from the race lead to third place as Kallio and Viñales punched through, with the latter eventually winning by 2.694s.
Rabat finished just over 2.5s clear of Johann Zarco for the final rostrum spot, winning the title and celebrating his 13th podium of a fantastic year with the Marc VDS Racing Team.
It was a third win in four Moto2 races for reigning Moto3™ World Champion Viñales, as he prepares to move up to MotoGP™ with Suzuki next year. For Kallio the title fight is over, but he produced another solid performance for his 10th podium result of 2014.
Also in the top five were Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing) and Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert). The top ten was completed by Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team), Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP), Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Sitag), Jonas Folger (AGR Team) and Marcel Schrotter (Tech 3).
Gino Rea (AGT Rea Racing) fell at Turn 2 on the first lap, causing Nico Terol (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2) to drop his Suter to avoid the fallen rider. Rea was later diagnosed with three broken bones in his right foot.
Franco Morbidelli (Italtrans Racing Team) crashed but rejoined in order to continue learning the Malaysian circuit. Randy Krummenacher (Octo IodaRacing Team) and Sam Lowes (SpeedUp) both fell at the last corner of the track midrace, remounting after. Lowes would pit with five laps remaining however.
Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and Louis Rossi (SAG Team) both fell and were unable to rejoin. Home rider Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Racline Malaysia) crashed out of tenth after a lightning start to the race. Axel Pons (AGR Team) retired to the pits with a technical issue.
Maverick Vinales, Paginas Amarillas HP 40: race winner – “That was the hardest race ever! But I had a good plan – to be really smooth with the gas during the first part, otherwise the tyre temperature gets too high. So I saved my tyres and in the end that helped me to pull away. For the next race we will try to continue in the same way!”
Mika Kallio, Marc VDS Racing Team: 2nd – “This wasn’t a perfect day for us but my congratulations to Tito. He’s had an amazing season – no mistakes, always at the front and that’s the key to winning a championship. We were also consistent and collected points at every race, but at some races he was too fast for us and we couldn’t put the pressure on him that we wanted. At the last four or five races we suffered in the later stages of races. It was the same here – I couldn’t open the gas as early in the corner as Maverick could, so we need to find a solution to this.”
Tito Rabat, Marc VDS Racing Team: 3rd – “For the moment I have no words! I’m so tired but at the same time very happy. My start was very good and I pushed hard but the tyres were getting so hot and the other two had a better rhythm, so I decided that it’s better to not make any mistakes, especially when I felt the front tyre pushing. Over the last few laps my head was going crazy! I want to thank everyone for this championship: my team who did a great job, my family, sponsors and fans.”
Moto2 Race Classification
Moto3: Vazquez wins at Sepang as Moto3 title fight goes on to Valencia
An enthralling Moto3™ race at the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix saw Efren Vazquez take the win, with Jack Miller and Alex Rins also on the podium. Alex Marquez was fifth and the title battle will rage on in Valencia.
Vazquez (SaxoPrint-RTG) rode brilliantly in the hot conditions at Sepang with an aggressive battle fought at the front, as championship rivals Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) touched several times.
Vazquez was able to cross the line first, for his second win this year and the second of his long career. Miller was second by a 0.213s margin with Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) close by in third.
Danny Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo) and Marquez fought hard on the final lap, with Kent taking fourth. Marquez’s lead at the head of the standings was reduced to 11 points with one round remaining.
The top ten was completed by Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold), Niccolo Antonelli (Junior Team GO&FUN Moto3), Jakub Kornfeil (Calvo Team), Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Enea Bastianini (Junior Team Go&FUN Moto3).
Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing) was the first faller in the race as he battled in the top ten. Andrea Migno (Mahindra Racing) and local hero Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Ongetta-AirAsia) both collided, ending their races. There was another incident involving Scott Deroue (RW Racing GP), Matteo Ferrari (San Carlo Tam Italia) and Hafiza Rofa (SIC-Ajo), with the latter rejoining the race.
Isaac Viñales (Calvo Team) fell as he attempted to chase down the leading group. John McPhee (SaxoPrint-RTG) crashed as he pushed for his first podium.
There were retirements for Jasper Iwema (CIP), Ramdam Rosli (Petrons AHM Malaysia). They were joined in the pits by Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo) and Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing).
Teammates Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46) also entered the pits with technical problems.
Efren Vazquez, SaxoPrint-RTG: race winner – “Moto3 is always so close, so it’s never easy to make a plan for the end of the race. Even more so than usual, everyone was riding really aggressively, especially Marquez and Jack who are fighting for the championship. I tried to do my best but not to be too risky because I didn’t want to affect their chances in the championship. Anyway, I have my own personal battle for third overall with Rins, so I tried my very best at the end and it worked perfectly.”
Jack Miller, KTM, 2nd – “We are very pleased with the result we achieved today. It almost felt like we had won the race. We recovered a few points that we had dropped over the course of a couple of races and now we have only one chance. We have one race remaining in Valencia, for which we will have to work hard and try to do our best.”
Alex Rins, Estrella Galicia 0,0: 3rd – “It was a fun race, in which I learned a lot, but it was also tough both mentally and physically. I think I made the best start of my life and I gained many positions, but I went into the first corner with a little wariness about the other riders because they go beyond their means. Then I pushed until I reached the lead group and eventually I finished on the podium. Overall it has been a tough week as we struggled to find the right setup; I have to thank the team and Honda for their hard work.”
Alex Marquez, Estrella Galicia 0,0: 5th – “The TV footage speaks for itself; it was a very hard fought race. I had to go very carefully at all times, because there was a title at stake. Perhaps I was overly cautious, but in the end I did the right thing. We stayed on the bike and, although I had to settle for fifth place, luckily Miller did not win. I’m happy because we scored some very important points. I would have liked to have won the race and clinched the title here, but the important thing is that we lead going to Valencia.”
Moto3 Race Classification
Double MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) stormed to his 12th victory of the year at sweltering hot Sepang this afternoon, equalling the record for the most elite-class wins in a season, set by former Repsol Honda rider Mick Doohan in 1997.
The Spaniard’s latest success also gave Honda its 21st constructors’ World Championship in the premier class and its 63rd in total since the company commenced its full-time participation in motorcycling’s World Championship during the early 1960s. Marquez’s 44th GP win was also Honda’s 695th victory across the 50, 125, Moto3, 250, 500 and MotoGP categories.
This has been another year of amazing record-breaking rides by 21-year-old Marquez who yesterday took his 13th pole position of the season, bettering the 12 poles set by multi World Champion Doohan in 1997 and another former Repsol Honda World Champion Casey Stoner in 2011. Two weeks ago in Japan Marquez became the youngest rider to secure consecutive premier-class crowns, breaking the record held by Briton Mike Hailwood for almost half a century.
Today Marquez had to use everything he’s got to take victory in the toughest conditions of the season. Victory at this immensely challenging circuit doesn’t require supreme riding talent alone, it also demands superhuman fitness and endurance to resist the effects of riding a red-hot motorcycle at the limit in steaming hot conditions – 35 degrees and 50 per cent humidity.
Marquez may have started from pole but he lost out in the Turn One battle where he was pushed out wide after a contact with Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha). Sixth at the end of the first lap he soon climbed back to third but from that point his job became a little more difficult. Lorenzo led, chased by team-mate Valentino Rossi who took over at the front just before half-distance. Marquez quickly followed Rossi past Lorenzo – who later admitted he was struggling in the suffocating heat – and then the very next lap he swept into the lead when Rossi ran wide at Turn 15.
From there the pair pulled clear of Lorenzo, Rossi always threatening on Marquez’s rear wheel until the final few laps when the champion’s skill on worn tyres allowed him to break away and win by 2.4 seconds. Marquez now has one Grand Prix left – the Valencia season finale on 9th November – to win a 13th race and thus break Doohan’s long-held record.
Marquez’s team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) had an unhappy day at Sepang. Second behind Lorenzo on the first lap he slid off at the Turn 15 hairpin the following lap. He rejoined the race in last place, worked his way up to 11th and then slid off again on lap 13 due to a mysterious copycat fall.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) completed a strong weekend with a determined ride to fourth place in the debilitating conditions. The German never had time to rest as he had to work hard to fend off a hard-charging Bradley Smith (Yamaha) in the closing laps.
Scott Redding (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RCV1000R) did another great job, once again the top finisher on Honda’s lower-cost production racer. The Briton’s tenth-place result was his seventh top ten of his rookie MotoGP season.
Former Sepang 250 winner Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive 7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) was running ahead of Redding when he lost focus due to dehydration – his hydration pack had stopped working – and ran off the track. He recovered to finish 11th.
Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) crashed out on the second lap after a collision with Aleix Espargaro (Yamaha). Nicky Hayden (Drive 7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) slid off on lap seven while chasing team-mate Aoyama and Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R) fell on lap 12.
Maverick Vinales (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) scorched to his third Moto2 win in four races, overcoming Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team, Kalex) in the closing stages. But it was the man who came home in third place who got the biggest cheers. The result was good enough for Tito Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team, Kalex) to secure the Honda-powered championship that he has dominated since the first race in Qatar.
Rabat got a brilliant start from his tenth pole position of the season and soon established a 0.9 second gap over Vinales and Kallio, but the pair closed on the race leader and took control after half-distance. Rabat sensibly decided not to get involved in the fierce battle for the lead – he knew that a third-place finish would give him the title with the final Valencia round still to go.
Few riders deserve a world title more than Rabat who made his Grand Prix debut in the 125 class in 2005 and has never stopped working since then to improve his riding skills. Rabat’s usual training partners throughout the year are the Marquez brothers.
Kallio did everything he could to win today’s race but in the end he had no reply to the storming Vinales who finally made a pass at Turn Four stick after an earlier failed attempt at the same spot. That was on lap 15 of 19 and from then on the Spaniard ruled the race, steadily opening the gap to take the flag 2.7 seconds ahead of Kallio. Rabat was in ecstasy as he crossed the line, later thanking his team and his hugely supportive family for his first world success.
A few seconds behind the delighted 25-year-old a three-way battle raged for fourth place, with Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert, Suter) caught and passed on the very last lap by Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham, Caterham Suter), with Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team, Kalex)
just metres behind. Less than two tenths of a second covered the trio at the flag.
Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP, Kalex) finished in a relatively lonely seventh place, well ahead of Motegi winner Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock, Suter)
Efren Vazquez (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda NSF250RW) won a breathtaking Moto3 skirmish to win the second Grand Prix victory of his career by a nail-biting two tenths of a second.
The battle at the front was enthralling from the first lap to the last with title contestants Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW), Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) and Jack Miller (KTM) in the thick of it throughout. Positions changed every corner and there was plenty of bumping and barging. At the start of the final lap there were seven riders in the lead group, though that changed when front-row starter John McPhee (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda NSF250RW) slid off, leaving six men in with a chance of victory.
Vazquez made superb use of his Honda’s impressive power to grab the lead as the pack sped down the back straight for the last time and just fended off Miller on the dash to the line, with Rins a further 0.172 seconds down and Danny Kent (Husqvarna), Marquez and Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda NSF250RW) in their wheel tracks.
Marquez had led the race in the late stages and looked certain of a podium result until he ran slightly wide on the last lap which demoted him to fifth, just eight tenths of a second behind Vazquez. He goes into next month’s Valencia finale leading the title chase by 11 points from Miller with Rins a further 25 points down and sadly out of the title fight.
The 2014 MotoGP World Championship concludes in two weeks time with the final grand prix of the season at Valencia, Spain, on 9th November.
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: race winner – “This was one of the toughest races of the year for me physically and I’m happy to have equalled Mick Doohan’s record! We knew to expect this kind of weather in Malaysia but it was especially hot today and we all found it hard to finish the race. Halfway into the race the pace slowed down because I think everybody needed to take a breath! I’m happy with how I handled the race, because the first corner was a bit of a nightmare but I was able to come back to the front and stay there, whilst I cooled down my tyres and brakes. I started to attack with 10 laps remaining, then made the difference when there were five laps to go.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 4th – “I am really happy to end such a tough race in fourth position: it was incredibly hot out there. Actually we have done a good job throughout the whole weekend. After the first hard braking in the race I could feel that my front was not good enough to attack and I thought I had to manage this for 20 laps. I was trying to catch Dovi but for some reasons he was a little bit faster. I could then see he was struggling with his bike so I had my chance to pass him and I was able to manage the gap to the guys behind me. We did a good job this weekend with no mistakes, being consistent and fast in the top five for three days. After a very tough period we are back in the top five and I want to thank my team for the excellent job.”
Scott Redding, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 10th – “I went with the harder rear tyre, because we knew that we had a little less pace than Aoyama this weekend, so knowing that the other Open class Honda bikes were going to use the soft option, we just tried a different tactic, like we did in Phillip Island. We thought that with the hard tyre we could come strong in the latter part of the race, but actually it was the wrong idea. I think we should have gone with the soft tyre. That’s why I lost most of the time, and then it was a matter of just staying consistent and trying to finish the race. Anyway, for the championship is good to be the top Open class Honda again, even if Aoyama was faster than us during the weekend.”
Hiroshi Aoyama, Drive 7 Aspar Honda: 11th – “Yesterday was a fabulous day for us, we did a great job and were able to get our best grid result of the season. Today, in the warm-up session, I also felt great. The track temperature was slightly lower in the morning which gave us confidence. We were hoping for a good result and I quickly found a good rhythm I could maintain. But I had a problem from the start: my hydration system stopped working and I wasn’t able to have a drink. In the last laps I was dehydrated and that cost me my focus, so shortly before the end I made a mistake and went off the track. Luckily I was able to come back and finish in eleventh place. The bike worked perfectly all weekend. I felt extremely comfortable, so it’s a great shame not being able to get a better result because of a problem with my hydration pack. We could have finished top Open rider. The whole team has done a great job and I want to apologize for this problem.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: DNF – “I was enjoying a really good weekend, but in the race I couldn’t get the result. For some reason on lap two I lost the front end and went down. I don’t know what could have happened, because I wasn’t riding on the limit. Luckily I was able to pick the bike back up, continue the race and regain positions. I rode very well afterwards, with a good feeling, and then the same thing happened again. I wasn’t riding on the limit and I crashed a second time, in the same way as before. We are going to look at what might have happened, because it occurred twice in a row and on the same side of the tyre. I would have liked for the race to have finished in a different manner, because we had been doing a very good job all weekend, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.”
Alvaro Bautista, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini: DNF – “I honestly don’t know how to explain what happened: I passed Aleix Espargaro on the straight early in the second lap and I was in front of him braking for the first corner, on the inside; then, he suddenly closed the line, touching me, and we both went down. Fortunately we’re fine, but I’m sorry for the team and for myself. Too bad, this is definitely not our season, we always have so many problems, now joined by this episode…”
Nicky Hayden, Drive 7 Aspar Honda: DNF – “I didn’t start well but I was able to pass several riders. I felt comfortable on the bike so I was able to maintain a positive and steady pace, which allowed me to catch Hiro. But when I released the brakes at Turn Nine, the front went and I was on the ground. Although the track was very hot, I’ve no excuse, it was my mistake. Today I felt very comfortable on the bike, but I made a little mistake. It could’ve been a great race and we could’ve finished in the top ten. I feel bad not being able to deliver a good result for our main sponsor at their home race.”
Karel Abraham, Cardion AB Motoracing: DNF – “Yesterday we got our best qualifying performance and then today another crash, so of course I’m not happy. The race was really tough but we were in a good position until I crashed out. Nothing to do except learn from this and then go on to the last race at Valencia where I aim to finish the season on a better note.”
The Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix saw Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo claim Yamaha’s eighth double podium of the season after a heated battle at the Sepang International Circuit.
Valentino Rossi had a dream start to the Malaysian Grand Prix as he shot up two places to fourth and settled behind his teammate Lorenzo. As Lorenzo moved up the order, Rossi quickly responded and climbed to third, but he was shadowed in his every move by rival Marc Marquez. While lying second Dani Pedrosa crashed out of the race on the last corner of the third lap, promoting Rossi to second as he continued the hunt for his teammate. Slowly but surely Rossi closed the gap and on lap nine he made his move.
Aware that he was still followed by rival Marquez, the Doctor put the hammer down on the next lap but went slightly off line on the last corner and was forced to give the position to Marquez. Rossi refused to give up and chased his rival but, as the tyres started to wear down and the heat started to take its toll, he was unable to retake the lead and finished the race in second, +2.445 behind the leader.
Teammate Lorenzo catapulted off the line at the start of the Sepang battle and arrived at the first corner in second place until a slight touch with rival Marc Marquez forced him wide in the first corner. The Majorcan was quick to recover and went through the first corners side by side with teammate Rossi in third and fourth place.
Lorenzo was the quicker one of the two and soon made his move on Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa to take the lead before the end of the fist lap. He put his head down in the attempt to extend his lead, but Rossi soon caught up and with 11 laps to go made his move. Before Lorenzo could answer he held off an attack from Marquez in his typical x-fuera style, but was unable make it last. Lorenzo remained determined to fight, but eventually settled for third place, his 85th MotoGP podium finish.
Rossi’s impressive comeback from sixth to second earns him 20 points and leaves him second in the championship standings with 275 points. Lorenzo’s performance sees him take 16 points and leaves him third in the championship standings on 263 points, just 12 points behind his teammate.
Valentino Rossi – 2nd / +2.445 / 20 laps – “This race is the most difficult race for the riders but I felt good with my preparations. This means I have worked well. The second place is positive for me because we struggled much during the weekend and I wasn’t very strong. This morning we improved the bike and once again in the afternoon. The bike was perfect for the race. I fought a lot and I enjoyed the fight with Jorge and also the battle with Marc at the end. At one moment I thought I could win, but unfortunately Marc was a little bit too fast. The best way to think of the second place for the championship is to try and fight for the podium. That’s my target, but Valencia is a difficult track for me. In the past I struggled there a lot, so this year I want to try the maximum. I want to be competitive on Sunday and try to arrive on the podium.”
Jorge Lorenzo – 3rd / +3.508 / 20 laps – “This race was very difficult. It was probably the hottest race in Malaysia in the whole 12 years that I have competed. I made a good start and was very brave on the first lap. I pushed at the maximum for the first seven to ten laps, but little by little trying to get the bike stopped was getting worse and worse. Valentino was really fast and during the second part of the race he was able to keep the same pace that I had at the beginning. It was very difficult to ride and fight. I wasn’t as fit as in Silverstone or Misano. These three weeks outside of Europe I’ve not trained hard enough, so I wasn’t as quick.”
Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director – “It’s been almost a perfect day, we finished the triple header overseas races with a brilliant result and again have both riders on the podium. Vale rode a superb race and Jorge also was very strong. Their performances were especially impressive considering the incredibly hot conditions. We were able to see in warm up that the pace and speed were good so we thought we could get a great result. Unfortunately we didn’t win but we have six podiums in three races and two wins, we can’t ask for much more. We go home satisfied with our efforts and look forward to finishing the season on a high note with a great race in Valencia. We have to thank all our staff, three overseas races in a row is tough and everyone worked very hard and never gave up.”
Smith and Espargaro power to strong finishes in Malaysia
Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Bradley Smith courageously fought through the challenging track conditions today in Sepang to brilliantly finish in fifth place for round 17 of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship. The British rider lined up in ninth on the grid and as the 20 lap sprint began, he lunged forward when the lights flicked to green, completing the first lap in eighth position. By the fifth lap, the 23 year old rider was running a consistent and formidable race pace in sixth as he resolutely fought the searing heat and as a result, the increasing lack of traction at the Sepang International Circuit. The British star, who clinched a debut podium at the last round in Australia then set about relentlessly plugging the gap to Stefan Bradl ahead over the following laps, inching closer as the race distance progressed. When the last lap began, Smith launched a fantastic late charge to close right in on the German rider in front and despite a valiant effort to pass in the final moments at the last corner, he just missed out successfully overtaking Bradl for fourth. Nevertheless, his thorough and determined ride to fifth saw him move up to seventh in the championship standings and conclude the three fly away races with another strong result.
Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro made a truly heroic effort to power through the pain of the injury to his foot yesterday to clinch sixth in the tough MotoGP battle at Sepang today. The reigning Moto2 World Champion fell heavily in yesterday’s FP3 session and fractured the second head of the metatarsal in his left foot. However he fought onwards and competed in the warm up today, where he finished in 14th place. The Spanish rider began his race from 12th on the grid after bravely making the decision to contest the race, as even though he did not partake in the qualifying yesterday, his FP3 time which left him in tenth, allowed him direct entry into QP2. Espargaro started the GP strongly and finished the first lap in tenth as he stayed determined to seize a top ten despite his injuries. With six laps having been completed, he had closed in on Yonny Hernandez and made the move one lap later, to impressively place him in seventh with 13 laps remaining around the 5543 metre circuit. The rookie carried on his striking display to overtake Andrea Dovizioso on lap 18 to clinch sixth and he eventually crossed the finish line in this position after a highly notable show of perseverance. His superb result today saw him move up to sixth in the World Championship standings after the penultimate round in Malaysia.
Bradley Smith – 5th / +22.283 / 20 laps – “It was a great result for us today after what was a really tough race and tricky weekend in general. We were never quite where we wanted to be in the practice sessions and qualifying on the third row didn’t make our situation easier for today. Yet, to finish the race 20 seconds back from the leader in fifth is a strong result and better than what we predicated. The race itself was very demanding and the body goes under so much stress during it, but this is why we train and do the hard work to prepare for events like these. The team did a great job and the fifth goes well with the podium from last week, to mark a positive flyaway period for me. It would have been good to get Stefan for the extra two points to aid our championship standing ambitions, but I gave it my absolute all and didn’t have anything left. I am happy with the performance and now we will head back to Europe, where we will battle to finish in a similar position as I have to keep reaching these results in order to try and get the sixth place in the championship.”
Pol Espargaro – 6th / +34.668 / 20 laps – “The race today was a really tough one for me, but I am very happy to walk away from here with a sixth place finish and some more valuable championship points, which was a much better result than what we anticipated after yesterday. Apart from my physical conditions, today was also really hard because we didn’t compete in FP4 yesterday and so we lost a lot of valuable time to work on the setup. Yet, the team did an amazing job to prepare a really good bike and I must thank them for their continued work all weekend long. In the race itself, I just tried to run a consistent pace and finish. I really gave it absolutely everything that I had and it was very tough in the last ten laps as that’s when my foot started to hurt a lot with turning the bike being especially hard. However, I never gave up and am happy with the result as we collected some very important championship points which helped me to pass my brother to gain sixth position in the overall standings. Now I will rest up before the final race in Valencia where I will try to be as fast as possible to finish my rookie season on a high.”
Aleix Espargaro 2014 World Champion in the Open category
Aleix Espargaro won the World Championship of the Open category at the Malaysian Grand Prix on board of the Forward Yamaha of the NGM Forward Racing Team.
After having dominated throughout the whole season in his category, scoring a pole position at Assen and a podium finish at Aragon, today Espargaro claimed the title of World Champion of the Open category. Espargaro leads the classification with 117 points, 42 points ahead of Scott Redding, so with one race in advance, he wins mathematically the title.
Unfortunately the Spaniard couldn’t celebrate such a fantastic achievement with a good race result as he had to retire following an incident with Alvaro Bautista. Started from the seventh spot on the grid, Aleix was close to the front guys when he touched Bautista on the second lap and fell, without the possibility to re-join the race.
Despite the retirement on the last lap for a technical problem, it was a good race for Alex De Angelis. Started 18th, the Italian rider made a great recovery and was close to the top ten when he was obliged to retire.
Alex De Angelis – DNF / 19 laps – “Despite the retirement I can say that we did a good race. The fact that we didn’t do the pre-season test on this track, made the race weekend even more complicated but together with the team we worked hard and we did a great job. We started on Friday behind but today and I could reduce the gap and we fought throughout the whole race with Redding. I made a good start, I was quiet aggressive in the first laps and I recovered several positions. Unfortunately I had to retire on the last lap for a technical problem. With the ground temperature reaching 54 degrees it was a demanding race for us abut also very challenging for the tyres.”
Aleix Espargaro – DNF / 1 lap – “I made a made a good start and I pushed hard from the beginning to maintain the contact with the front group. It’s a pity that at Turn 1 on the second lap I went wide under braking and I touched Bautista. I couldn’t control the bike and crashed. I’m really sorry for Alvaro as I have spoiled his race and also mine. Fortunately we are both well. I’m happy we won the Open Championship. It’s a fantastic achievement for myself and the team. This year we have achieved important results and had great satisfactions. I’d like to thank all my team for their hard work, Yamaha for their support, all the sponsors and of course all the guys that work also from the office.”
Disappointment for Ducati Team in Shell Advance Malaysian GP at Sepang: eighth place for Dovizioso, a DNF for Crutchlow
Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow of the Ducati Team had no luck in the Shell Advance Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang circuit today, both men falling foul to technical problems on their bikes that affected their eventual results.
Dovizioso powered away well from row 2 at the start of the 20-lap race and was third at the end of the opening lap. On the next lap the Italian was passed by Marquez, but was comfortably able to hold on to fourth place for 14 laps, with a safe lead over Bradl. A problem with his Desmosedici however forced him to slow and he lost a few positions, eventually finishing the race in eighth place.
Crutchlow also got a good start from the third row to find himself sixth behind Bradl, but on lap 5 his GP14’s engine suddenly cut out with an electrical problem and the bike came to a halt, forcing the British rider into retirement.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 8th – “Pity about the problem: every time I opened the gas the engine stuttered and I had to slow down. Hopefully this will be useful when it comes to improving things for next year. I am quite happy with the way my race was going, because we know that the top four riders are difficult to catch at the moment. This weekend we did a great job: we improved in every session and in my opinion, did the best that can be done with this bike. Above all I was keeping a constant pace, which was what interested me the most, because on this track it’s very difficult.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – DNF – “Obviously I’m really disappointed, because I felt we had a great pace for the race. We knew from this morning’s warm-up that the pace on the completely used tyre was better than what the guys were doing ahead of me after five laps so I was confident I could have at least finished in the top 4 today. But this is racing, we had an electrical problem and the engine stopped. It’s disappointing, but now we have to come back in Valencia and ride as best as possible.”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager) – “To be honest we expected a bit more from this race, because both Andrea and Cal today were in a position to obtain two good results. Now we have to analyze the problems that we had in the race to find a solution in view of next year.”
For the second time this season, Ulsterman Michael Laverty and Australian team-mate Broc Parkes brought both PBM machines home in the points to enjoy a successful weekend at the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle GP held in stifling conditions at Sepang earlier today.
After the success of Laverty’s brilliant 13th place at Phillip Island in Australia the week before, tempered by Parkes injuring his shoulder in a practice crash, hopes were high for the Penrith-based team at the 17th and penultimate round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship.
With conditions as hot and humid as experienced all season, both Laverty, on the Rapid Solicitors and Silkolene-backed Aprilia ART-powered PBM and Parkes aboard the Rapid Solicitors and Silkolene-backed PBM battled through practice, gradually improved their pace, despite a spill for Laverty.
Former British Supersport Champion Laverty ended up qualifying in 20th place on row seven of the grid with twice runner-up in the World Supersport Championship Parkes two places and one row further back.
Laverty made a great start and had already climbed to 17th within the opening couple of laps as Parkes gave chase despite still being troubled by the shoulder injury he sustained in his home race. By lap seven, Laverty had made it into the points although both riders had to work hard in the conditions.
By lap 13 Laverty was up to 14th and a couple of laps later, he climbed to 13th as Parkes upped his pace too to move into the points. From there, the pair battled on and at the end of the 20 lap race, Laverty crossed the line in a career best 12th place with Parkes bravely claiming 14th at the flag.
The result betters the historic 14th and 15th places scored by the two riders in Indianapolis meaning that in their penultimate race of the series, Paul Bird’s team re-wrote the history books for the all-British team.
As a result, Laverty has elevated himself to 24th in the MotoGP World Championship table with his three points scoring rides (Indianapolis, Australia and Malaysia) with Parkes in 23rd after his four points scoring rides in Qatar, Assen, Indianapolis and now Malaysia this season. Adding gloss to the result, the Cumbrian team made it 30 finishes out of the 34 races to date for the British-made machine.
Parkes is tenth in the Open class standings and third in Rookie of the Year. Laverty occupies 11th in the Open class whilst importantly for the PBM team, they hold fifth place in the Constructor’s table and 13th in the team’s standings
The PBM MotoGP team is next in action at the final race of the season in Valencia on November 9th.
Michael Laverty: “That’s points two weekends in a row! Thanks to a great job by all the team, I crashed my preferred bike in FP3 putting us on the back foot throughout Qualifying and morning warm up but the boys had my number one bike back to its best for the race. I didn’t have the grip in the early laps to go with Petrucci but I was able to keep my pace consistent throughout and caught back up to him and gapped Di Meglio. It was possibly the toughest race I’ve ever done due to the heat and humidity so I feel an extra satisfaction that I managed to secure my best MotoGP finish to date.”
Broc Parkes: “After the disappointment of missing out at my home GP in Australia last weekend, I was determined to make up for it in Sepang. The injury to my shoulder I sustained in Phillip Island was still troubling me and I didn’t have the best time during Free Practice and Qualifying but I dug deep in the race. It was hard work but I was determined to see it through and to be rewarded with a couple of points was fantastic. Well done to Michael on his result too, to have us both in the points again is a brilliant reward for all the team’s hard work.”
Phil Borley, Technical Director: “The Malaysian Grand Prix has definitely been our hottest race of the year and probably the toughest for our riders because of the conditions. For both of our riders to score points is very satisfying and to maintain our reliability record when others have suffered is also positive. Michael made a good start to the race but didn’t have the pace early on to stay with our immediate competitors, but could match their times later in the race. Broc’s pace was again affected by his shoulder injury, but he soldiered on to finish the race and score points. We now look forward to our last MotoGP race in a couple of weeks and see if we can end the season on a high.”
Honda clinches fourth consecutive constructors’ title in the MotoGP class
Whilst the brilliant Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) had already retained his MotoGP World Championship crown, at the Japanese GP, the 21 year old Spaniard’s win at the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang today secured Honda’s fourth consecutive constructors’ title in the MotoGP class and brings the company’s total of constructors’ prizes in the elite category to a record-breaking 21.
Those 21 successes encompass a whole range of Honda machinery, starting out with the mighty air-cooled in-line four-cylinder RC181 that beat MV Agusta to the constructors’ crown in 1966.
Honda had a long absence from Grand Prix racing, but following their return it didn’t take long for the company to get back on top with its new range of two-stroke race bikes during the 1980s. In 1983 Honda took the prize with its superb three-cylinder NS500 and followed that by winning the 1984 title with the NS500 and the all-new NSR500 V4. In 1985 Honda secured its first premier-class constructors’ hat-trick with a new version of the NSR500.
The NSR500 went on to become the most successful racing machine in the history of Grand Prix racing, also taking the constructors’ championship in 1989, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2001.
When motorcycle Grand Prix racing began its new four-stroke era in 2002, Honda was immediately successful with its fabulous 990cc RC211V. The V5 took a hat-trick of titles in 2002, 2003 and 2004 and followed that with a fourth success in 2006, before MotoGP was reduced to 800cc machinery.
Honda won its first 800cc constructors’ championship in 2011, with the four-cylinder RC212V. The following year, when MotoGP went to full 1000cc machines, Honda was once again on top and has continued the success this year with the RC213V thanks to brilliant riding by the Repsol Honda duo of Dani Pedrosa and 2014 World Champion, Marc Marquez.
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main) & Soft (Alternative)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 34-35°C; Track 52-55°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez equalled Mick Doohan’s premier-class record of twelve wins in one season after the newly-crowned MotoGP champion won a gruelling battle in sweltering conditions at Sepang International Circuit.
After smashing the outright lap record yesterday during qualifying, Marquez set a new Sepang Circuit Record Lap time of 2’01.150 on lap two as he battled with the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP duo of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo at the front of the field. Lorenzo led for the opening nine laps of the race before being passed in quick succession by first Rossi and then Marquez, but the 2014 World Champion seized the race lead just a couple of laps later. Marquez ultimately won the race 2.445 seconds ahead of Rossi, while Lorenzo crossed the finish line in third place a further second behind.
Conditions at Sepang were once again extremely hot today, with a peak track temperature of 55°C during the race making today’s contest the warmest Malaysian Grand Prix in the past few years. Front tyre choice for the race saw fourteen of the twenty-two starters select the medium compound front slick, with the remaining eight riders opting for the hard compound front slick. For the rear tyre, thirteen riders – including all Factory Ducati, Honda and Yamaha riders selected the medium compound rear slick and nine riders selected the soft compound rear which was only available to the Ducati and Open-class riders at Sepang.
With just one round remaining, Marquez’s twelfth win of the season sees his points total swell to 337 points, while Rossi’s second place at Sepang sees his lead in the championship standings over teammate Lorenzo grow to twelve points.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department – “Congratulations to Marc and Honda on their return to the top step of the podium, for Marc to equal the record for most wins in a season with another legend of the sport in Mick Doohan is testament to what a fantastic season he has had. I have to commend all the riders today as it was very hot, even for Sepang, and racing in such conditions must’ve been extremely tough on them. We saw a record crowd at Sepang today and it is encouraging to see that more and more fans are embracing MotoGP in this part of the world, and I hope that we see another big crowd at Valencia for the final race of the season in two weeks’ time.”
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department – “This year’s Malaysian Grand Prix was extremely demanding on the riders, their bikes and our tyres, so it was pleasing to see such quick lap times and consistent performance over race distance. As the riders got to perform long runs in similar conditions yesterday afternoon, tyre choice for today’s race was very close to what was used during FP4. Despite the tough conditions, new qualifying and race lap records were set this weekend which reflects well on the tyre specifications we provided at Sepang this year.”
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda – Race Winner – “This was one of the toughest races of the year for me physically and I’m happy to have equalled Mick Doohan’s record. It was especially hot today and we all found it hard to finish the race, but I’m happy with how I handled the race, because I made a small mistake at the first corner but I was able to come back to the front and stay there. I started to attack with 10 laps remaining and I could finish strong. I will now try for one more victory at Valencia.”
Toba wins Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup
Japanese rider Kaito Toba has won the inaugural Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup after finishing third in the final race of the season at Sepang, whilst his main rival Yuta Date crashed on the first lap.
The last of nine races in the first season of the competition got underway at midday local time at the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, with all the focus on those two riders, Toba and Date – separated by just two points in the standings as they lined up on the grid.
The third rider who arrived at Sepang with a title chance, Ayumu Sasaki, crashed in Saturday’s race 8 of the season and broke his wrist, meaning he was unable to race on Sunday.
At the race start, Thai rider Muklada Sarapuech got away brilliantly to lead, despite starting eighth on the grid. But midway through the first lap Sarapuech went to ground just in front of Date, who also fell. Date managed to rejoin the race but his championship chances had slipped away.
A front-running group gradually pulled clear to contest the lead, with Toba, Takuma Kunimine and the winner of Saturday’s race Shafiq Rasol joined by Adam Norrodin towards the end of the race.
Kunimine judged the hot conditions best of all, crossing the finish line first and securing his first win of the year. Rasol was second and Toba’s third place ensured him the championship.
The inaugural 2014 edition of the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup produced an intense and exciting competition between the 22 young participants, as they raced in Qatar, China, Indonesia, Japan and Malaysia.
Preparations for the 2015 season gather momentum on Monday with the first of two days of the Selection Event, also at Sepang, where the riders hoping to take part in next year’s competition will show their intentions to turn potential into performance.