Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang:
Marquez takes 12th win of 2014 with victory in Malaysia sealing Constructor’s Title for Honda
Today in Malaysia, 2014 World Champion Marc Marquez has won his 12th race of the 2014 season and secured Honda’s fourth consecutive Constructors Title. Teammate Dani Pedrosa was in contention for a strong finish today but unfortunately crashed out of the race.
Dani, starting from 2nd on the grid, leap frogged teammate Marc from the start and led the race entering turn one as Marc had a brief encounter with Lorenzo and briefly dropping down to 8th. As the riders crossed the line at the end of the first lap, Lorenzo had taken the lead from Dani and Marc was already up to 6th. On lap two, Marc continued to storm through the field – setting a new record race lap (2’01.150) – and passing Bradl and Dovizioso to move up to 4th, then in the final corner Dani made a small mistake and lost the front, crashing out at a fairly low speed. He was able to remount the bike and rejoined the race in 20th.
Marc now in third began to chase down race leaders Lorenzo and Rossi as Dani instigated his comeback. On lap ten, Marc passed Lorenzo – who had lost the lead to his teammate – and on the final corner Rossi ran slightly wide and Marc was able to pass. Meanwhile Dani had moved up to 11th place but on lap thirteen he lost the front in turn nine and this time was unable to restart. Marc and Rossi put on a good show for the final eight laps but with two laps to go, Marc opened up the throttle and put a three second gap between him and Rossi.
This win in Sepang is Marc’s 12th victory of the season, equalling Repsol Honda’s Mick Doohan’s 1997 record for most wins in a single season in the premier class of racing, and has gifted Honda their 21st premier-class Constructors’ title.
1st - 2014 MotoGP World Champion
“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 5 laps to go.”
DNF - Championship Standing: 4th - 230 points
“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.”
Yamaha Secures Double Podium at Sweltering Sepang
Sepang International Circuit (Sepang, Malaysia), 26th October 2014
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.
46 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.”
99 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.”
“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.”
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.”
Honda claim 63rd Constructor’s Championship in Sepang
With Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez winning in Malaysia today, Honda Motor Company have won a record-extending 63 Constructors Championship. The 2014 MotoGP Constructors Championship is Honda’s 21st in the premier class – eight in MotoGP and thirteen in 500cc – to add to the six 350cc titles, nineteen in the 250cc class, fifteen in the 125cc class, and two in the 50cc category. Honda riders have won 695 races – across all categories – a number that’s sure to continue growing.
Honda’s 2014 Repsol Honda Team riders, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, both heavily contributed to the Constructors Championship which is calculated by the result of the highest placed motorcycle of a Constructor, according to the position in the race. To date they have scored a combined tally of 384 points with Marc taking Honda’s top result 13 times, Dani twice and Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista also contributing once each.
The Constructors Championship was won by the following placed finishes (to date): Qatar – Marquez 25, Americas – Marquez 25, Argentina – Marquez 25, Spain – Marquez 25, France – Marquez 25, Italy – Marquez 25, Catalunya – Marquez 25, Netherlands – Marquez 25, Germany – Marquez 25, Indianapolis – Marquez 25, Czech Republic – Pedrosa 25, Great Britain – Marquez 25, San Marino – Pedrosa 16, Aragon – Bradl 13, Japan – Marquez – 25, Australia – Bautista – 10, Malaysia – Marquez 25.
Honda is an engineering company, whose legendary and innovative machines have attracted the best in the world. Machines that are the creation of some of a brilliant engineering corps, which had the bikes over to the dedicated globe-trotting race technicians who are overseen by passionate team managers who demand, and receive, excellence. Men like Shuhei Nakamoto, the Executive Vice-President of Honda Racing Corporation, whose laser-like focus, brutal honesty, and selfless dedication were instrumental in bringing Honda the past four Constructors Championships, in consecutive seasons.
HRC Executive Vice President
“Once again we’ve seen a very exciting season and it’s bee particularly special for our HRC Factory squad, The Repsol Honda Team. Marc showed incredible dominance at the beginning of the season after winning the first ten races in a row, and I must congratulate him on this incredible achievement! Winning his second MotoGP Championship in just his second year, and also doing so in Japan, is something I will never forget. Dani also did a great job this year and was in fact the first rider to beat Marc back in the Czech Republic. We were supporting him 100% to take second place in the Championship but after Phillip Island and today in Malaysia, it’s now not possible so I’m sure he will turn his focus to 2015. I’d like to take this chance to thank all our partners and sponsors for their ongoing valuable support, and to all our colleagues at Honda who work so hard throughout the year to give our riders the best possible chance on track. Also to all our fans around the World, this Championship is for you all! Now we head to Valencia in two weeks time where we hope to secure the Team Title and claim back-to-back Triple Crowns.”
Yonny Hernandez celebrates his fiftieth race finishing seventh, his best result in MotoGP
In the garage of the Pramac Racing Team happiness is brought once again this time thanks to Yonny Hernandez that closes the Malaysia Grand Prix best of the Ducati on the track in seventh position.
Yonny Hernandez (EnergyT.I. Pramac Racing) started from thirteenth place, at the first corner he gained four positions. He was ninth until Crutchlow's withdrawal and Pedrosa's crash gaining seventh position. From that point of the race Yonny battled with P. Espargaro, in which the Spaniard has the best. The Colombian rider has a good pace and loses only a few seconds. With three laps to go he takes advantage of Dovizioso that slowed down and crosses the finish line with his best result of his career in MotoGP celebrating the best way possible his fiftieth race in the World Championship. Yonny is thrilled that all the hard work is showing it’s results and is looking forward to Valencia to try to repeat the excellent performance.
A special good luck for a fast recovery to the other rider of the Pramac Racing Team Andrea Iannone, who at this time is in Italy doing other exams to his left injured elbow caused on Friday in FP2 in a collision with Marquez.
After three weeks of intense and challenging work the Pramac Racing Team together with the paddock of the MotoGP returns to Europe for a well-deserved weekend of rest before the final Grand Prix of the year that as tradition will be held in Valencia.
Yonny Hernandez (EnergyT.I. Pramac Racing)
“I made a very good start, definitely the best in my career!!! I felt good and I kept a good pace throughout the race although in the last five laps it was really hard due to the rear tire that was sliding a lot. Seventh position is my best result in MotoGP, I am very happy but I still have to improve because we have everything we need do these results!"
EARLY FINISH FOR BAUTISTA AT A SCORCHING HOT SEPANG. REDDING FIRES INTO THE TOP TEN
The penultimate round of 2014 campaign, the Malaysian Grand Prix held today at a scorching hot Sepang, saw Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista failing to finish the race after he was hit by Aleix Espargarò at the beginning of the second lap.
The Spaniard could not prevent the fall as a result of the impact with Aleix’s bike coming into the first corner: therefore, an already very difficult weekend ended in the worst way for Bautista, who now is already focused on the last round of the season, scheduled in two weeks to Valencia, in order to close this very complicated season with a good result.
His teammate, Scott Redding, was the first Open Class Honda RCV1000R to pass the finish line in tenth place: the English rookie, who struggled yesterday in qualifying, opted for the hard compound rear tyre, struggling to find a good rhythm. A race certainly not easy for him, which anyway gave him, like at Phillip Island, a top ten finish and the first place among Open Class Honda bikes.
ALVARO BAUTISTA (DNF)
“I honestly don’t know how to explain what happened: I passed Aleix Espargarò 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...”.
SCOTT REDDING (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 during the weekend Aoyama was faster than us”.
“It was a very difficult weekend, moreover ended prematurely for Alvaro because a manoeuvre of another rider early in the race. Obviously we are disappointed: we knew we couldn’t get a great result, but it was still important to see the finish line and collect points. Now let’s look already at the last race in Valencia, where we will do our best to end this difficult season in positive fashion. Redding struggled to keep a good pace, but eventually hit his target, that was to be the top Production Racer HOnda: now Scott can count on a good advantage in terms of points on Aoyama, so in Valencia we have a good chance to close the ranking in first place among the riders aboard the Honda RCV1000R”.
SOLID 4th PLACE FOR BRADL IN MALAYSIA
Sepang, 26 October: a huge crowd of more than 80.000 fans enjoy the penultimate round of the season at stifling Sepang circuit with LCR racer Stefan Bradl gaining a superb 4th place behind Marquez, Rossi and Lorenzo. Starting from the 4th spot on the grid, Bradl cleverly managed a tough and close 20-lap race showing his standard comeptitive pace after a difficult period. This is the German’s 4th place from the beginning of the season and he is now heading to Valencia for the ultimate positive round aboard his LCR Honda machine.
Stefan: "I am really happy to end such a tough race in 4th 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 week end with no mistake 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”.
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 7th 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 10 when he was obliged to retire.
“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”.
Alex De Angelis
“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”.
Hiroshi Aoyama triumphs over adversity at Sepang
DRIVE M7 Aspar rider suffers dehydration and a crash but remounts to finish eleventh
The gruelling conditions of Sepang saw no fewer than eight riders crash out of the Malaysian Grand Prix today, with only fourteen making it to the finish line. Unlike the Moto2 and Moto3 races the pace was as hot as the track in MotoGP, with Marc Márquez clocking a new circuit record (2'01.150) on his way to a convincing victory from pole position. Márquez did not have things all his own way, however, losing several positions at the start as Dani Pedrosa took early charge. Pedrosa gave way to Jorge Lorenzo before the end of the first lap and then crashed on the second, leaving Lorenzo to lead a group of three from Valentino Rossi and Márquez. Lorenzo was unable to maintain the pace of his rivals in the final stages of the race, with Márquez edging out a crucial gap over Rossi on the last few laps to claim his twelfth win of the season and equal the record set by Mick Doohan in 1997.
DRIVE M7 Aspar rider Hiroshi Aoyama produced one of the bravest rides of the day after making one of his best starts of the season from eleventh place on the grid. The Japanese rider was lapping inside the top ten when his drinks system failed and he was unable to take on vital fluids as the race progressed. Despite that setback Hiroshi maintained a strong pace and was fighting to finish as the top Open rider until fatigue and dehydration took their toll and the loss of concentration caused him to crash with four laps to go. Whilst Hiro remounted to take eleventh place, his DRIVE M7 Aspar team-mate Nicky Hayden was unable to return to the track after a crash of his own on lap seven.
11th Hiroshi Aoyama: “Yesterday was a fantastic day for us, we did a great job and I was able to set my best grid position of the season. I also had a great feeling in the warm-up this morning and I was feeling confident for the race. I made a good start and got into my rhythm straight away but I had a problem early on with my drinks system and I couldn't get any liquid for the whole race. I was dehydrated on the last few laps and I was finding it really hard to concentrate, which caused me to run off track. Luckily I was able to get back on and finish eleventh. After such a great weekend it is annoying not to be leaving here with a better result due to such a small thing. We could have finished as the top Open rider and the team deserved it after doing such a great job, so I want to apologise to them.”
Nicky Hayden (DNF): “I didn't get a good start but I managed to recover the ground quickly and pass a few guys. I felt comfortable on the bike and I was able to keep a consistent pace from the start to get away from Scott and gradually start closing the gap to Hiro. Then when I let off the brakes in turn nine the front folded and I couldn't save it. Even though the track temperature was very hot there are no excuses, it was a mistake on my part. I felt good on the bike today but I made a little mistake and that was a shame because I was catching my team-mate. I think it could have been a good race for us, with at least a top ten position, so I am feeling bad and sorry to our main sponsor that we couldn't offer them a better result in their home race.”
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 5th place for round 17 of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship. The British rider lined up in 9th on the grid and as the 20 lap sprint began, he lunged forward when the lights flicked to green, completing the first lap in 8th position. By the fifth lap, the 23 year old rider was running a consistent and formidable race pace in 6th 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 4th. Nevertheless, his thorough and determined ride to fifth saw him move up to 7th 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 6th 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 10th, allowed him direct entry into QP2. Espargaro started the GP strongly and finished the first lap in 10th 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 7th 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 6th 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 6th in the world championship standings after the penultimate round in Malaysia.
Position : 5th Championship : 7th Points : 119
"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 5th 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 5th 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 6th place in the championship."
Position : 6th Championship : 6th Points : 126
"The race today was a really tough one for me, but I am very happy to walk away from here with a 6th 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 6th 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."
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :
"What a fantastic race and brilliant ending to the weekend for us. We were all really worried about Pol’s condition after his fall yesterday and did not know if he could start the race, never mind finishing it. Even if a rider is fully fit, it’s not easy to complete the challenge here as it’s such a demanding race with the humidity and heat. Both riders had a strong start and got stuck into good rhythms, plus they didn’t make any mistakes and remained consistent. Bradley and Pol kept their heads down and really deserve these results. I was very happy to see Brad catching Stefan Bradl in the last few laps and trying his best to overtake him at the final turn. Unfortunately he couldn’t make the pass, but I am really happy for him as he followed his podium in Australia with a great 5th place here. Even more amazing is Pol finishing in 6th as we were not sure if he could last the race distance with his injury, but he did an amazing job as Bradley did and I congratulate their fighting spirit. Many thanks also to Yamaha for their never ending support throughout the year and it's especially nice to score this result here in south east Asia with the bikes being very important in Indonesia and Thailand, so we are even more proud to be part of it. Next we will head to Valencia where we hope Bradley and Pol will have another strong set of results to strengthen their championship standings, with the team position now being third in front of Ducati which is something we definitely want to keep. So, it should be a very hot final in all departments."
Best Yet For Laverty As Parkes In The Points Too
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."
Top ten for Redding in sweltering Sepang
Sepang, Malaysia – 26 October 2014: Scott Redding secured his sixth top ten of the season in today’s Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, which he finished in tenth place.
The 21-year-old Briton was the first Open Class Honda rider across the finish line, extending his lead in the championship standings over fellow RCV1000R rider, Hiroshi Aoyama, to eight points.
Scott Redding // 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 during the weekend Aoyama was faster than us.”
Sepang success makes it twelve MotoGP™ wins for Marquez in 2014
Round 17: Malaysian MotoGP™ - Race
Sepang, Sunday 26 October 2014
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.”