These just in:
Pedrosa leads home fantastic Repsol Honda 1-2
Dani Pedrosa has taken back-to-back wins in the Malaysian Grand Prix after an emphatic win with teammate, and Championship Leader, Marc Marquez in 2nd, celebrating the team's fifth 1-2 finish of the season.
Dani, starting from 5th on the gird, climbed up to 2nd position by turn one with Marc slipping back to 3rd. Lorenzo led the charging pack followed closely by Dani, Marc, Rossi and Bautista, with just milliseconds separating the five riders, Marc set a new fastest lap on lap two with 2'01.415 (breaking Casey Stoner's time of 2'02.108 from 2007).
At the end of lap five Dani launched his attack and passed Lorenzo taking the lead. Marc attempted to follow Dani and briefly passed Lorenzo at the beginning of lap six before being passed again - almost immediately - and initiating an epic battle between the two Spaniards. They exchanged positions sever al times until Marc finally made it stick on lap nine and began to open up a gap.
At this point Dani had already put some space between him and the others and was comfortably in the lead. Marc chose the safe option and didn't try to chase down his teammate - instead settling for twenty vital Championship points, extending his lead over Lorenzo to 43, and 54 to Dani with three races remaining.
Dani Pedrosa 1st Championship Standing: 2nd - 244 points
"I am very happy with this win, as it is very special. My level of riding today was very good and the victory comes after a difficult week - in which I was laid up in bed and could hardly move. To come here and win is fantastic, so thanks to all my team! It is a pity about what happened in Aragón, because we had the pace and the same chance of the win as we did here. However, we can't keep looking back; we need to continue on and try to carry our form into the final races"
Marc Marquez 2nd Championship Standing: 1st - 298 points
"These twenty points are very important and I'm really happy with how the race went today. I had a nice, fun battle with Lorenzo, but at the same time I could see that Dani was opening up a gap. When I finally managed to overtake Jorge and make the pass stick, I tried to reduce the distance that Dani had put between us. However, I saw that it was too risky to do so. From that moment on, I decided to focus on keeping Lorenzo at bay, because the goal here was to finish the race ahead of him. We did what we came here to do, so we are very happy!"
Lorenzo Battles for Sepang Podium
Sepang (Malaysia), 13th October 2013
Defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo battled hard during the early stages of today's Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix to take third on the podium.
Starting from fourth on the grid, the Yamaha Factory Racing rider was yet again off the start line like a bullet and the first rider through turn one in the lead. With both Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez snapping at his heels he put his head down and tried to break away. With 16 laps to go, Pedrosa made his move at the end of the back straight, taking the lead. Marquez then moved up into third and began an epic battle with Lorenzo, the two swapping positions multiple times and passing within millimetres of each other at speeds of over 190km per hour. With 11 laps to go Marquez was able to make his final pass tick on the inside of turn 14, leaving Lorenzo to hold third to the line and claim third on the podium.
Teammate Valentino Rossi dropped initially to fourth off the line from his second place grid position, tucked in behind Marquez on the first lap. The nine-time world champion made a move on Marquez at turn 10 but was unable to pass and settled back into fourth. Rossi spent several laps holding off the advances of Alvaro Bautista, narrowly escaping an incident when the Spanish rider overshot turn one, just missing Rossi as he ran wide. The rest of the race proved to be a lonely one as he held his position in fourth, crossing the line just over ten seconds behind the leader.
The results from the first of the overseas triple header sees Lorenzo hold second in the championship, now on 255 points, Rossi holds fourth on 198 points.
The team now moves directly to Australia for the next round at the Phillip Island circuit next weekend.
99 Jorge Lorenzo
3rd / +6.669 / 20 laps
"We were much slower than the others today, especially after three or four laps. I tried to open a gap at the beginning like always but there was +0 on the board after a couple of laps. When Dani passed I tried to stay with him and also then again when Marc passed me. I tried to pass him some more times to make him nervous but it was impossible, he was much stronger today so we couldn't do much more. To win the championship is almost impossible but I would like to finish second in the championship and win as many races as possible."
99 Valentino Rossi
4th / +10.351 / 20 laps
"Today was half and half for me, for sure we improved and made another step, improving the setting of the bike and I was able to be very close to Jorge. It looks like today our competitors had an advantage here; they were able to keep a better rhythm than us. Starting from second I hoped to arrive on the podium but I knew the top three guys were very strong. At the beginning of the race I lost some time as I had a problem with the front brakes. We continue to work and push and fight to be in with the top three."
Yamaha Factory Racing Wilco Zeelenberg
"Well, it was a very hot race, especially at the beginning, Jorge made an amazing start again. I think he gave everything he had to fight with Marc but finally it was not enough and he had to let them go for third place. Podiums are always good and sometimes there are races you cannot win, this was one of those."
Yamaha Factory Racing Massimo Meregalli
"The weekend didn't go as we expected. We suffered a drop off in tyre life and we couldn't ride the bikes as we needed to. We tried hard to make the best setting to be fast and consistent but unfortunately we still needed something more. We won't give up until the end and fortunately there is one race in a week's time. We would like to have our revenge so we are really looking forward to Phillip Island."
Andrea Iannone forced to withdraw
The first leg of a challenging overseas tripleheader in the MotoGP World Championship took place today at the Sepang International Circuit, where Andrea Iannone's day ended prematurely.
After a very good start, the determined Italian immediately gained one position and sat in ninth place, behind fellow Ducati rider Nicky Hayden. He turned his best lap of 2'02.786, only to break his steering-damper mount following a violent headshake, forcing the Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team rider to drop out of the Malaysian GP on the sixth of twenty laps.
There was an atmosphere of disappointment in the garage, as the weekend had been one of the best of the season until that point.
Andrea Iannone - Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
"It's a shame, as I was having a good race. I was able to stay with Nicky and Dovi during the first few laps, and we had almost the same pace. I was riding well and thought I'd be able to have my best result of the year. It's okay though, as my team and I will learn from this experience, because we definitely didn't expect this kind of problem. After I broke the mount for the steering damper, the bike became dangerous and impossible to ride, I could no longer do the turns, and when I realized the problem, the only thing I could do was came back in the garage. This will help us to grow, and anyway, we really worked well during this race, so I'm optimistic for the next round."
Top Ten for Yonny Hernandez and the Ignite Pramac Racing Team
The first round of the final MotoGP World Championship tripleheader at the Sepang International Circuit ended today with a rousing tenth place finish for Yonny Hernandez in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd that filled the grandstands.
Yonny Hernandez set his best time of 2'04.282 on lap 2, immediately gaining three positions, before moving into tenth place which he defended until the end of the race.
The perseverance and the determination of the Colombian rider, who spent much of the weekend searching for the best set-up for his Desmosedici GP13, allowed him to get one of the best results of his racing career.
The Ignite Pramac Racing Team and Yonny are now getting ready to face the next round in the calendar, from 18th to 20th October, at the Phillip Island Circuit, Australia.
Yonny Hernandez - Ignite Pramac Racing Team
"I am very happy with how the race went. This weekend I learned a lot from the bike and the team. It's a totally different way to ride but I am adapting quite quickly and I hope to continue in this direction. I'm glad to have been able to enter into the Top Ten and now I would like to work hard starting from the first day of the next round in Phillip Island so I can find immediately the correct setup to be able to maintain a good pace for the weekend and for the race. In general I am very happy and I want to thank the whole team for giving me the opportunity to race in the best possible way."
Pedrosa bounces back with dominant victory at Sepang
Round 15: Malaysian MotoGP? - Race
Sepang International Circuit, Sunday 13 October 2013
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium (Symmetric) & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main) & Soft (Alternative)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 32-33°C; Track 43-46°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Dani Pedrosa overcame his heartbreak from the last round at Aragon as the Repsol Honda rider dominated today's race at Sepang International Circuit to win his second successive Malaysian Grand Prix.
Pedrosa made a fantastic start from fifth on the grid to and to slot into second place behind Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo at the first corner. On the fifth lap, Pedrosa squeezed past Lorenzo and then led all the way to the chequered flag. In second place was Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez, the championship leader also getting past Lorenzo who rounded out the podium in third position. Power Electronics Aspar's Aleix Espargaro was once again the best of the CRT riders, taking ninth place in Malaysia.
Conditions for on race day were dry and the warmest of the entire race weekend with a peak track temperature of 46°C recorded at the start of the race. The warmer conditions didn't have an effect on tyre choice, with riders choosing the same tyre combinations used during practice and qualifying. All but two riders on the grid selected the harder rear slick option, while only five of the twenty-three starters chose the harder front slick. Despite the hot conditions, the performance of all the slick compounds used in the race was consistent, with Marquez setting a new Circuit Record Lap of 2'01.415, and the overall race time was eighteen seconds quicker than the existing record.
With three rounds remaining, Marquez extends his points lead over Jorge Lorenzo to forty-three points, while Pedrosa's third victory of the season sees him remain third overall, though he reduces the gap to Lorenzo to eleven points.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
"Today we saw a wonderful performance from Dani to score his second straight Malaysian Grand Prix, so congratulations to him and the Repsol Honda team. There was great racing throughout the field today, particularly in the early stages of the contest and I am sure the sell-out crowd of 84,250 enjoyed the show put on by the riders today. The crowds for the Malaysian Grand Prix keep growing and after today's spectacle, I have no doubt interest in this series will continue to grow in this region. We now head straight to Phillip Island for the second of the three back-to-back fly away rounds as the championship heads towards an exciting conclusion."
Masao Azuma - Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
"Tyre performance today in the warmer conditions was very good with a new race lap and overall race time record being set and feedback from the riders indicates that tyre degradation over the race distance was predictable. Although track temperatures were warmer today, they weren't at a level where it resulted in riders deviating from the tyre choices they made yesterday in practice and qualifying, with most riders preferring softer slick options front and rear. We had typically unsettled conditions here at Sepang, but our tyre allocation for the weekend was up to the task, and we now look forward to Phillip Island which is the most demanding race on our tyres."
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda - Race Winner
"It was a great feeling to come back and win this race, especially as it is quite hard physically. I didn't have the best weekend early on, but I managed to come back strong today and get the win. At the last race I also felt I had the pace to win but unfortunately I crashed, but after today's performance I'd like to thank my team, my fans and my family for their support."
Malaysian GP: Dovizioso eighth, DNF for Hayden
The Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle GP, round fifteen of the MotoGP World Championship, was short on satisfaction for the Ducati Team.
Andrea Dovizioso started from eighth place on the grid and at the end of the 20-lap race, he was in the same position. Following a good start, the Italian went wide in Turn 14 on the third lap, forcing him to mount a difficult charge to make up lost positions. With teammate Nicky Hayden and fellow Ducati rider Andrea Iannone both dropping out, Dovizioso was able to take the chequered flag in eighth place.
Despite starting from the fourth row, Hayden did well in the early going and had climbed to eighth place by the third lap. Unfortunately, his bike suffered an engine problem at the end of lap eight, forcing him to retire. The engine will be sent back to the factory in Bologna to be analysed by the Corse technicians.
The MotoGP teams now head straight to Phillip Island in Australia, where the second leg of this overseas tripleheader will take place in one week's time.
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 8th
"I had a good start and was trying to stay with Smith, but I was very close to the limit and made a small mistake in Turn 14, where I closed the front. I went off-track and lost nearly ten seconds. Then it took at least seven corners for the normal grip on the right side of the tyre to come back, and I'm not sure why. We can't be happy because our lap times were pretty disappointing. At the moment, it's very hard for us; the other bikes have different characteristics and we aren't able to close on them."
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, DNF
"It's a real shame because yesterday before FP4, the team made a good step with the bike. I didn't ride well in qualifying, but this morning I was able to go faster than I had all weekend and had a pretty decent pace. In the race, I started eleventh but was able to move up a few spots and was having the best race I've had in a while. I was pulling away from Dovi pretty well and had just closed onto the back of Bradley. He was a little faster than I was in a few places, but I was better in some other spots. Just as I tipped it into the last corner, I heard a strange noise. I was hoping it was something on his bike, but when I opened the gas it was clear it was me. We need to let the engineers check out the engine to see what the problem was. It's just a shame for me and the team to start the three-week trip this way."
Paolo Ciabatti - Ducati MotoGP Project Director
"We've already sent Nicky's engine to Bologna to be checked by the racing department, so we should soon know the real cause of the problem that occurred in the race. It's a shame because Hayden had done a good warm-up session and was also having a good race, fighting with Smith. As for Andrea, he made a small mistake in the early laps and unfortunately, he immediately lost touch with Hayden, Iannone and Smith, forcing him to work his way back up. Once again, we don't get much satisfaction from this race in Malaysia."
SHELL ADVANCE MALAYSIAN MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX 31°c cloudy
Crutchlow and Smith battle hard in muggy Malaysia
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith battled hard in baking hot conditions to claim sixth and seventh respectively in front of a record crowd of over 84,000 fans packed into the Sepang International Circuit.
Temperatures still hit over 30 degrees, despite heavy cloud cover and a strong wind blowing around the vast Malaysian motorsport arena, when Crutchlow and Smith engaged in an early battle at the start of the physically challenging 20-lap encounter.
A brilliant start from rookie Smith moved him ahead of his compatriot on the opening lap before Crutchlow moved back into the top six.
From that early juncture, former World Supersport Champion Crutchlow was caught in a long and tough battle with Spaniard Alvaro Bautista, which went right down to the chequered flag.
Crutchlow and Bautista exchanged several overtakes in an exciting battle but the 27-year-old missed out on his first top five finish since the Indianapolis round in August by just 0.152s.
Today's result though consolidated Crutchlow's position as the leading non-factory rider in the World Championship rankings on 166-points, which keeps him 30 points clear of Bautista with just three races remaining.
Smith strengthened his quest for a top 10 overall finish in the Championship standings after he rode to a lonely but very valuable seventh position.
The platform for his 10th top 10 finish of the campaign was a terrific launch off the line that put him right on the back of the leading group in the opening exchanges.
Unable to keep himself in the hunt for a third top six finish, Smith kept razor sharp concentration in the extreme heat to streak away from those behind with relative ease and his fastest lap of the race was only just over 0.7s behind Crutchlow's.
The nine-points collected this afternoon could prove vital in the chase for 10th in the final standings, with the 22-year-old now six points clear of main challenger Aleix Espargaro.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team has little time to catch its breath now, with the squad heading off to Australia for the second of a gruelling flyaway triple-header that concludes in Japan on October 27.
Cal Crutchlow 6th - 166 points:
"It was a difficult race and I am very pleased to be in the top six, though it would have been better to have won that fight with Alvaro. That's about my level at the moment and we knew this is not an easy track for Yamaha. I lost quite a bit of time fighting with Alvaro because I was looking to push on and maybe chase Valentino. But at the start I couldn't stop the bike with the soft front tyre and I had a few moments. And I was also struggling with a lack of rear grip and that made it quite a difficult race. It was a good battle with Alvaro and it was a pity he just beat me but at the of end of the day he is on a package very close to the one that won the race today. I'm still satisfied with sixth but I am not so happy with the gap to Dani at the front. I am confident though we will be stronger at Phillip Island."
Bradley Smith 7th - 89 points:
"To be honest today was a good way to end a very positive weekend. During the last three days we improved in every single session, we made progress with the setting of the bike and me finishing in 7th position is obviously a pleasant fact for my Championship standing. Today the track conditions were very tricky and with the higher temperatures the behavior of the bike was very different to what I experienced during the whole weekend and it took me awhile to adjust my riding style. But my second half of the race was quite strong and I am pleased with this. Furthermore we improved my feeling on full fuel load where I normally struggled a lot and also finishing the race still seeing Cal and Alvaro was a very positive feeling. So altogether I'm truly satisfied with this event and I will fly to Australia full of confidence and looking forward to the race next week."
Herve Poncharal - Team Manager:
"It was a very tough race but we expected it to be like that in these conditions where it is always so hot and humid. Cal lost a few places off the start while Bradley was sensational off the line again and he managed to get into the top six. Cal fought back quickly and he then had a really strong fight with Alvaro for most of the race and it was a shame that he lost out right at the end. But it was good to see him back on the front row of the grid and it was a solid race. He has been in quite a lot of pain and discomfort with his right arm and I am grateful that he pushed at 100% right from the start and as usual showed his fighting spirit. It was also a very strong race from Bradley. His lap times were very close to Cal and it was not an easy racing being on his own for so long. He kept his pace fast and consistent and he pushed right to the end and he never gave up. That shows how strong his motivation is and how keen he is to learn and progress. He is improving in every race and I am happy with the job he has done all weekend."