Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Michelin after a soaking Malaysian round:
Andrea Dovizioso scores a superb win in the Shell Malaysia Grand Prix at Sepang. DNF for Andrea Iannone who crashes out on lap 13
Andrea Dovizioso today produced a superb performance at the Sepang International Circuit to take victory in the Shell Malaysia Grand Prix, the Ducati Team rider crossing the finish-line ahead of Rossi and Lorenzo at the end of 29 rain-soaked laps. Powering away from pole, Dovizioso was third at the end of lap 1 behind Rossi and Andrea Iannone, who then put on a terrific scrap for first . On lap 12 Dovi passed Iannone and set off after Rossi, whom he passed on lap 15, and from then on he pulled out a small lead over the Yamaha rider to take the flag with a margin of more than three seconds. The Italian had not won a race in MotoGP since the British Grand Prix at Donington in 2009 and thanks to this result he moves up into fifth place in the table with 162 points.
Andrea Iannone had a good race but was out of luck in the end after starting from the second row. The Italian, who returned to the team after his crash at Misano, took the lead on lap 2 and then remained in that position until lap 10. Iannone was then passed by Rossi and, on the next lap, also by his team-mate and he then crashed out at Turn 9, putting an end to his good performance.
Thanks to today’s result, Ducati lies third in the Manufacturers’ championship with 245 points.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1st
“It was very important for me to win a race this year: I’ve been trying for so long and I’ve come close on several occasions, so satisfaction for today’s result is truly immense. I really powered to the win, because in the first half of the race I could not push too hard, but I didn’t give up, I didn’t make any mistakes and at the right time I passed both Iannone and Rossi and set my own pace. I am very happy about the improvements we have made this year, both in the bike and with my team, but also on a personal level. I am working hard also for next year and this win, which has come at the end of the season, is just reward for all the efforts.”
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – DNF
“It was a great race, I started off really strongly and aggressively and immediately had a great scrap with Rossi. I really enjoyed it a lot and in the end, even though I crashed, I am pleased because I gave 100%. In view of my position in the championship, I ran my own race without thinking of the points and I opted to take some risks right until the very end. During the weekend we were missing a little something, because we were not able to improve the set-up of the bike after yesterday. We had some ideas and we hoped that the race was going to be dry, but it didn’t turn out that way.”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
“I am really happy for Andrea Dovizioso’s win, he’s had an excellent season even though he has been out of luck on occasions, so his position in the standings does not reflect his true worth. Well done Andrea! He made a perfect race, controlling the situation in the early laps and then attacking at the right moment to bring home this splendid result, which was important both for him and the team. The Desmosedici GP has always gone well in the wet, but we know we still have to improve some aspects in the dry and we are making every effort to do so. Pity about Andrea Iannone, he was having a good race on his return after his crash at Misano.”
Soaked Sepang Battle Delivers Double Yamaha Podium
Heavy rain saw the start of the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix delayed and the race distance reduced to 19 laps, but the more than 95,000 attendees still got plenty of thrilling racing action. Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo fought hard during the race to take second and third, their fifth double podium of the season.
Rossi had dropped two places from his position on the starting grid as the 21 MotoGP riders stormed out of the gates. As a result he went into the first corner in fourth, but quickly worked his way to the front over the next couple of turns. Rossi swiftly gained the lead and tried to break away but he was soon joined by Andrea Iannone. The following 11 laps were a consistent tug of war for the lead in the race between the two Italians.
The Doctor used the nimble character of the Yamaha to the fullest in the twisty sections of the Sepang circuit. With 12 laps remaining Iannone made his first attempt to take off at the front, but Rossi didn't let him escape and upped his pace further to close the gap within two laps, with Andrea Dovizioso in tow.
Studying his rival's riding, Rossi timed his attack to perfection. He wrestled his way past Iannone, followed by Dovizioso, and set a provisional fastest lap while the rivals behind him lost time battling each other. With five laps to go, as the track started to dry, Rossi suffered a problem on the right side of his front tyre. As a result he went wide in turn one, allowing Dovizioso through and after having experienced two moments the Doctor decided to bring his YZR-M1 over the line in second place, 3.115s behind the leader.
Teammate Lorenzo took the holeshot from pole on the wet track, but wasn't able to hold off an aggressive move from Marc Marquez and Iannone a few corners later, that saw him being relegated to sixth at the end of the first lap. The Mallorcan moved up one place at the start of lap three when Aleix Espargaró went wide and then took up the pursuit of Marquez who was a little more than a second ahead of him.
Lorenzo set a provisional fastest lap, but lost time and a place due to a scrap with Cal Crutchlow. Lorenzo decided to follow the Briton to the leading group and then found an impressive race pace but was unable to match the front runners. He had a lonely ride to the podium as Crutchlow, Marquez and Iannone all crashed in the later stages of the race, allowing him to grab a solid third place, finishing 11.924s from the front.
Rossi's second place earns him 20 points and leaves him second in the championship standings with 236 points. Lorenzo's performance sees him take 16 points and places him third in the rankings on 208 points, trailing by 28 points, making Rossi the 2016 MotoGP Vice Champion.
The MotoGP paddock heads back to Spain now for the last round of the season in Valencia in two weeks' time.
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"A double podium under today's critical circumstances is the evidence the team did an excellent job again here in Sepang. Valentino rode a superb and perfect race and I am sure he would have battled with Dovizioso until the very end, if his front tyre would not have dropped so quickly on the 15th lap. He was great to read the situation at the beginning of the race and he was also very brave because he had to reject first Iannone's attacks and then Dovi's. As for Jorge, it was evident from the beginning of the race that he did not have the feeling on today's flooded track but he was patient, his riding was very smooth and he was able to manage the situation for third place on the podium. We wrapped up the triple overseas races in the opposite way we started it. Although Vale has secured the second place in the overall standings, the third place is still open and therefore we head to Valencia now with the aim of having both riders on the final podium. I want to take this occasion to thank the whole team crew and all the staff, as the last three races have been a long and intense journey."
2nd / +3.115 / 19 laps
"My main target for today was to arrive in front of Jorge for second place in the championship, but I also wanted to win because I felt very good with the bike in the beginning. I had to fight a lot with Iannone and he was fast. After, when I went in front, I was very optimistic but when the water on the track became less the temperature went up, I was a bit in trouble with the tyres, especially with the front. I had two moments, I risked too much and I made a mistake and in that moment Dovizioso was too fast and he went. Securing second place in the championship is important, the battle with Lorenzo is always very intense and we always arrive at the last race. When you beat a rider that's very strong, like Jorge, it's great and in the end it has been a good season. I wanted to win, but it wasn't possible."
3rd / +11.924 / 19 laps
"Being honest, today I've been lucky, because without the crashes I would have finished fifth or sixth. Crutchlow, Iannone and Marquez crashed and finally I got this podium and that's OK. In the past I have been competitive in wet races, when I felt great. Especially with pit stops I have won races, I have secured podiums and got pole positions in the rain. In the wet, with the Michelin tyres this year, especially at the beginning, I had trouble getting confidence in the front tyre. It has been hard for me but after Brno we made some modifications to the setting and also this tarmac helps. At this track I had more grip than normal, so I had a bit more confidence and I was able to be more competitive. Maybe in the race a bit less than in qualifying, but finally because of some luck it was enough to get to the podium. We now go to Valencia with the aim to confirm the third place in the championship."
TOUGH SEPANG MotoGP™ FOR TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR
Team Suzuki Press Office – October 30.
Maverick Viñales – 6th
Aleix Espargaró – 13th
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaró scored sixth and 13th places under difficult weather and track conditions during the Shell Malaysian MotoGP™ at Sepang today.
Following a 20-minute delay on the start because of a heavy tropical storm, making racing too dangerous, Viñales – who was fastest in the morning’s ‘dry’ warm-up - and Espargaró both had good jumps on the start, moving up into the leading places. Espargaró was in the fight for fourth position until running wide and dropping down to 13th, so spent the race trying to catch-up, while Viñales lost some places at third-race distance before gaining some after a couple of riders slipped-off.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:
“It was a very disappointing race because in the dry sessions, like FP3 and also this morning’s warm-up, Maverick was very fast and also Aleix was very strong, so I was looking forward to the race in dry conditions. Unfortunately, rain came to ruin our plans; in the wet we struggled a lot, the only positive thing is that both riders finished the race without crashing, but this isn’t enough for us. We still struggle in the wet conditions, we managed to find some ways to improve, but still not enough. This will be our priority; we want to have a machine which is top-performing no matter what the conditions, both in the dry and also the wet. The next race will be the last race with Aleix and Maverick, so I really want to get well-prepared and have a positive race to end of our two years together.”
“Although sixth place is not so bad, I’m disappointed with the race result. We had a very positive weekend and I performed very fast in the dry, I really had hopes for a podium and also for a victory, but unfortunately in wet conditions we are not competitive yet. We struggle to find a good configuration with the electronics, which makes my riding very hard, in particular when it comes to acceleration. I can’t feel confident with the traction control, therefore resulting in me riding very carefully as I didn’t want to incur a high-side that could prevent me finishing the race. We have made many improvements on the machine and now we have reached a positive competitiveness in dry conditions, but the progress we’ve made in the wet is not enough. This result also proved the positives of the last three races; they were at three completely different circuits and we’ve proved we can adapt and be strongly-competitive in any kind of layout. Now the objective is to have the same competitiveness no matter what the weather conditions.”
“I’m disappointed with the final result because the weekend overall had been positive, but then in the race I couldn’t feel competitive. I decided to go with a soft rear tyre, hoping the conditions of the track would stay wetter, but at the end this proved to be the wrong choice. From the very beginning I realised that my performance was not good and I lost the feeling with the grip right after four-or-five laps. I also made a couple of mistakes, and doing them at the very beginning of the race, when all the riders were still packed together, meant I lost many positions and then it was really hard to recover. It’s a pity, we’ve made a lot of progress in the last few races and I felt very competitive in dry conditions, but we still need to improve our capability to have the same performance also in the wet.”
A GOOD RACE FOR APRILIA AT SEPANG
BAUTISTA SEVENTH IN THE WET, BRADL HINDERED BY A FALL
Sunday at Sepang held the umpteenth change with the unpredictable weather that characterized the entire weekend. The MotoGP race, delayed 20 minutes due to the heavy rainfall on the Malaysian track, forced the riders and teams to employ an added dose of concentration.
Alvaro Bautista skilfully administered his Aprilia RS-GP in the initial phases of the race, when a lack of grip kept him from expressing himself the way he had during practice where he earned a spot on the third row of the starting grid. Fourteenth after the first lap, the Spanish rider's progression had him overtaking Smith, Pol and Aleix Espargaró and Miller in the following laps, moving into ninth place. The crashes by Marquez and Iannone then decided his seventh final position, a great result that matches the one achieved in Japan two weeks ago to confirm the progress that the RS-GP has made in the second half of the season.
The race was compromised by a crash for Stefan Bradl, who took a slide during the tenth lap and then rejoined. Despite a good job making up ground on the riders ahead of him, the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini rider had to settle for seventeenth place.
ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING MANAGER
"We had a very interesting weekend, where we showed our increasing competitiveness, thanks in part to the new engine specification that allowed us to take a step forward in terms of top speed. In particular, Alvaro was in the top 10 throughout practice, both on the dry track and in the wet. The race was peculiar because of the conditions. I think that we need to take a step forward in terms of chassis and electronics setup when the track is very wet, but this is part of the growing process in this first season. I'm sorry about Stefan, who had shown excellent signs in the warmup session, but in the same way, the slide in the race is all part of the game".
FAUSTO GRESINI - TEAM MANAGER
“The result Bautista achieved is truly good, despite the fact that the first laps of the race were a bit difficult: however, Alvaro did a good job not making any mistakes and then, from the mid-race point on, he was very consistent, moving up well. By that time, the two riders ahead of him had already built up a bit of a gap, so he was not able to catch them, but today Alvaro had the speed to battle with them. In any case, that is fine. The changes that Aprilia brought here allowed us to take another step forward and that was evident throughout the entire weekend. This is a nice confidence booster for the future. I was sorry to see Stefan slide out. He was also riding a good race, confirming the progress made recently”.
"Seventh place is a good result that came at the end of a weekend that was definitely positive. We demonstrated good performance throughout practice, even achieving the best starting position yet with Aprilia. In the race, however, we found conditions that were very different from the rest of the sessions. There was much more water, so the feeling with the bike was not the same. I controlled the situation in the first laps, taking care not to make any mistakes and trying to achieve as much as possible. We saw a lot of crashes. The track was anything but easy so, considering the fact that the sensations in the saddle were not the best, we can be satisfied with the result and head to Valencia to finish this season well".
"Not an easy weekend for us. Because of the variable weather and having a few new components to test, we were not able to prepare for the race in the best possible way. On top of that, I had the crash, after which I was able to rejoin, but I lost time and positions. I am disappointed. All we can do now is go back home and set our sights on a good result in the last race at Valencia".
Marquez crashes out of podium battle, remounts and finishes 11th
A torrential downpour just before the start of the MotoGP race caused a 20-minute delay and played a key role in today’s race at Sepang. Marc Marquez was one of the victims of the tricky conditions as he crashed out of a battle for the podium and had to settle for 11th place at the finish.
The reigning World Champion got off well at the start and ended the first lap in fourth position. He stuck close to the three front riders, comfortably matching their pace while the track was slowly drying and avoiding pushing too hard, in order to preserve the tyres for the final laps.
Unfortunately, while chasing eventual race winner Dovizioso on lap 12, Marc crashed in turn 11. He bravely re-joined the race and recovered from 15th to an ultimate 11th-place finish.
Hiroshi Aoyama had a complicated race as he didn’t start well and got stuck in traffic. He found himself in last position after the first lap and recovered a few spots to finish 16th.
“Today was a difficult day. In the morning the weather was already unstable and finally the race was in the wet. Before the start I decided to use the carbon disc brakes, which gave me the chance to be stronger in braking. It was the right choice and it has nothing to do with my crash. At the beginning of the race I was riding quite comfortably in the leading group, trying to save the tires for the end of the race, but suddenly I crashed by losing the front at Turn 11. I thought I had a chance to finish on the podium here, but it was not to be, and it is better that this happens now that we already have the title. This experience will help us for next year and helps us appreciate the World Championship even more.”
"It was a rather tough race. When it started raining heavily, I think I could have finished in a better position, but unfortunately I had traffic in front of me for a few laps. When I passed Rabat, it was too late to catch the riders ahead. At first there was plenty of water on track and I could barely see what was ahead of me, so I couldn’t overtake. After a while, I saw that the sun was beginning to come out and I decided to push a little more, but my situation was not easy. This weekend the team worked very hard to get me comfortable and provide me with the best bike possible. I'm very glad to have been able to ride for the Repsol Honda Team, I thank the team again for the chance and hope that at the next race Dani can return.”
Fantastic race for Barbera and Baz in tricky conditions at Sepang
Avintia Racing matched its best result in the team’s history today at the Malaysian Grand Prix, with Héctor Barberá in fourth and his team-mate Loris Baz in fifth place. Just before the start, another tropical storm came down over the Sepang track and it rained so heavily that the MotoGP start had to be delayed by 15 minutes. For the Avintia riders, the water on the track was good news, because after their great performances in qualifying on Saturday, both Héctor Barberá and Loris Baz preferred to have a wet race. After a cautious start, the Avintia Racing riders started to pass other riders and recover positions, with Baz leading the pair. But when the amount of water on the tarmac got less in the closing stages of the race, Barberá got stronger, took advantage of the changing conditions and went ahead of his team-mate to cross the finish line in fourth place. It was his best result since his MotoGP debut in 2010.
Loris Baz, who had the roles reversed and been fourth ahead of Barberá at the Czech Republic Grand Prix back in August, finished the race in fifth place. Even though he dropped behind Barberá, this result is worth gold for the Frenchman, who had struggled for a number of races to find back to his confidence, which he had lost due to several injuries.
The overseas triple of races offered everything for Team Avintia Racing, from Barberá’s adventure riding the official Ducati to the remarkable MotoGP debut of Mike jones and the joy of all team members with this fantastic result at Sepang. There is no better way for Barberá to return to Spain, where he will go into the final race of the season at Valencia with extra motivation.
Hector Barbera - P4
“I’m really happy because this fourth place is incredible and also my best result in MotoGP ever. After two difficult races in Japan and Australia I really needed this result to get a boost of confidence and energy before my home race in Valencia. There is no doubt that this result came in the right moment. But although I’m very happy for myself, I’m also extremely happy for my teammate Loris, because he needed it even more than me. This result is fantastic for the whole team. We are showing this season that with hard work, big efforts and huge passion you can achieve important things. Avintia is the best example, because we don’t have the resources of many teams, but in passion we are world champions. We are in the top ten after 17 races, ahead of many factory bikes, and we go to Valencia determined to give our best again to close this fantastic season with the best possible result.”
Loris Baz - P5
“Before the race I was praying for rain, because the last three weeks have been really tough for me. After this weekend, we go back home with a big smile on our faces. If we look at the dry track time I’ve spent this year riding my bike, it is obvious that I’m far away from the pace, so I needed some confidence and you can only get that fighting and working hard every single day. But this result is what we were looking for to get a boost of morale and work even harder. This has been a really good race and I enjoyed battling with Hector. It was also an amazing result for the team. The race was difficult because with less water on the track my rear tyre was overheating, so this top five is fantastic. Valencia is my team’s home race and feels also like a home race to me as I have a house close to the circuit, so we will try to keep the momentum and fight for the best.”
Miller first Honda home in wet Sepang race
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller rode a carefully judged wet weather race to finish eighth in today’s rain hit Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Australian wet track master claimed his fifth top ten finish of the season so far after starting 14th on the fifth row.
Miller made an early charge to settle in tenth despite not finding the optimum set-up for a wet track during practice and qualifying.
After a mid-race battle with Alvaro Bautista for eighth Miller elected to bring his Honda RC213V home as the first Honda finishing one second clear of Pol Espargaro.
The race start was delayed by 20 minutes because of heavy rain and reduced to 19 laps.
Miller’s teammate Tito Rabat finished a morale-boosting18th having openly admitted that he struggled in the rain during practice and qualifying.
Rabat’s rookie season in MotoGP continues to be a steep learning curve and the tricky conditions at the Sepang International Circuit and completing the race distance was another step in that process.
For the season finale at Valencia in two weeks Rabat is hoping for a weekend of settled weather to consolidate his first season in the premier class.
Jack Miller: 8th
"I am always looking for more but in the conditions today I can take this result, it was pretty good considering the really tricky conditions, it wasn’t easy to stay on the bike. All weekend I had not been comfortable with our set-up in the wet so I’m reasonably happy to bring it home in the top ten and be the first Honda rider. Now it’s off to Valencia and, hopefully, a strong finish to the season.”
Tito Rabat: 18th
"Considering the disaster of qualifying in the rain and my struggle for confidence on a wet track it is very satisfying to make a good step in the race. Completing the race distance in difficult conditions gives me a lot of experience for the future. Today I knew my limit especially with the lean angle and I did not go over it even though I would like to be closer to the front.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"The target was to finish the race for both riders and for Jack to be in the top ten and first Honda in these conditions is good result. For sure we did not have the set-up for Jack at 100% but overall I’m happy to finish the three flyaway races with this result. For Tito it was a difficult weekend and although he finished the race we need to look at what we can do for the final race in Valencia to help boost his feeling to be more competitive in MotoGP.”
Espargaro braves Malaysian weather to seal 9th - Smith perseveres to clinch 14th
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro concluded the Malaysian Grand Prix in 9th position after powering through the treacherous conditions today at the Sepang International circuit. The beginning of the race was delayed due to a sudden downpour at the scheduled start time. However, once the GP commenced, Espargaro bolted forward from 11th on the grid and he completed the opening lap in 9th. During the next few laps, the 25-year-old slipped back to 13th, yet the Spaniard remained resolute and after running a strong and consistent rhythm, he moved into 10th on the 13th lap. Espargaro maintained his solid pace as he continued to run at speed at the physically demanding circuit and he closely monitored his times in order to keep a comfortable gap to the pursuing riders. After pushing relentlessly, the 2013 Moto2 World Champion shot across the finish line in 9th place, which marks a positive close to the penultimate round of the championship. Now, Espargaro confidently eyes up the next GP in Valencia where he will seek to seize the top independent honours in what will be his final appearance on the Yamaha YZR-M1.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team pit box, Bradley Smith bravely battled through to 14th to conclude the triple back to back GP's with another determined performance. Smith began the 20-lap sprint from the head of the fifth row of the grid and he expertly navigated his way around the opening lap, whilst impressively climbing four positions, before concluding it in 11th. From here, the British star stuck into a solid rhythm, yet despite giving his all, he was shuffled back to 16th after one-third of the race distance. However, the determined 25-year-old remained focused and pushed through the challenging conditions all the way to the chequered flag, which he met in 14th. This result marks a third successive point scoring finish since his comeback at the Japanese GP, from his knee injury, with Smith's displays highly exceeding expectations in the flyaway races despite not riding at full fitness. Now, the British star aims to conclude his six-year partnership with Tech3 on a high note in his final appearance at the next round in Valencia.
9th / +33.704 / 19 laps
"It was a very hard race today and especially at the beginning where there was a lot of water on the track but I am glad to walk away with a top ten finish and some valuable championship points. Because of the rainwater on the asphalt, the visibility was limited and the more behind you were, the more time you lost in the first few laps as there weren't any reference points regarding where to brake or accelerate, so it's been really complicated. In addition, I didn't want to risk making any mistakes, therefore we have to be content with this 9th position. However, this result has ensured my 8th place in the Championship standings, plus I am classified ahead of a couple of the factory MotoGP riders so it is pleasing to have ended the oversea races in this way. Now, we'll head back to Europe for the final round of the 2016 season, which will also be my last event with Tech3 so I'm highly motivated to do the best job that I can."
14th / +45.609 / 19 laps
"I have to start by saying that the three back to back races have been fantastic and I am more than satisfied with the results. To come back from my injury and score three point scoring finishes is much better than what I was expecting. If we look at the bigger picture, the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team did a superb job as well as the Clinica Mobile medical staff who made sure that I could compete in every session. In terms of the race, it certainly was tough due to the conditions but we have to be content with another finish in the points, even if we were hoping for more. I decided to risk using the hard rear tyre but it is not a compound that I have liked in the past, even though my feeling with it in FP4 was ok on the whole. Unfortunately, with the amount of water that was on the track today, I wasn't able to generate the right temperature into the rear tyre so it was tricky but I did my best and I don't think that I could have given any more. It's a pity to end up in 14th because we've had really good pace throughout the weekend, yet we have to look at the positives and take them onboard. Now, we will have a weekend off and then I will head to Valencia, ready for my final appearance with the Tech3 team, where I will do my absolute best."
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager:
“The flyaway races have been really tough, especially in Australia and here at Sepang, where the weather was inconsistent and to be honest, quite crazy so it didn’t make anyone’s life any easier. Anyway, I think that we have come out of these three events with some vital points. The conditions made it simple to make a mistake and we saw some of the top guys crash in front of us. None of the riders had a perfect setting because every session was different, but Pol kept his head down and pushed all the way to the end. He did a good job and scored some crucial points which secured his position of 8th in the championship. I want to thank him for this because I know it’s not easy at the moment, but he never gives up and always does his best. On the other side of the pit box, Bradley did a great job and I must say thanks to him also. To ride in the physical state that he is in is difficult, but when it’s also raining and very slippery, like it was today, it’s easy to potentially injure yourself further so I think he had a cautious approach. Eventually, Brad scored some points which is important and we have almost secured 5th in the team standings which will confirm Monster Yamaha Tech3 as the top independent team. Both Brad and Pol have delivered strong performances in the past three Grand Prix’s and now we will have a rest before Valencia and then we can enjoy the last outing with the guys which will be significant and very emotional for many reasons. So, I also want to say that the championship keeps getting more and more exciting because now we have nine different GP winners. Everybody at Tech3 is particularly pleased to see Andrea Dovizioso win today because he is our former rider and we have some great memories with him.”
Top 10 finish for Danilo Petrucci in Sepang’s heavy rain. Scott Redding ends up 15th
Octo Pramac Yakhnich team ends up the long triple-header of MotoGp with the Top 10 won by Danilo Petrucci. Scott Redding has instead had to settle for a point having finished in 15th position.
The Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix was marked by heavy rain that forced the race direction to delay the start. And it was a shame because during the warm-up in dry conditions, the signs were very positive, especially for Petrux who lapped with great confidence registering the seventh fastest time.
Petrux and Scott have struggled a lot in the early laps also due to the lack of visibility. From mid-race on, the Italian rider, who started from fifteenth position, found a good rhythm lapping consistently in 2'14 to chase the Top 10. Five laps to go to the end, Petrux managed to overtake Aleix Espargaro gaining the 10th position. On the last lap he even managed to reduce the gap to his brother Pol by only 3 thenths of a second, then he preferred not to risk in order to bring home the third consecutive Top 10 of the "triple".
On the other hand, Scott was not very incisive as he had to deal with the lack of grip on the rear. For the Englishman the fifteenth position under the checkered flag.
15th - Scott Redding
It was a very difficult race because I had no rear grip. I never found the feeling with the rear tire but I must admit that others who went out with the hard were still competitive. It was hard since the start. I also risked crashing on warm up lap. I tried to push but I was never able to find the rhythm in order to recover on the Top 10. I hoped it to be a dry race because over the weekend we had a good feeling in the dry. To be honest I did not expect to struggle so much,
10th - Danilo Petrucci
It was very tough especially in the first few laps. I suffered a lot on the straights because there were large water-clouds and it was almost impossible to see anything. I had little confidence in the front and I could not brake properly. It was hard, but in the end I did it to make the Top 10, also becouse some of the riders in front crashed. I brought home important points because it was too difficult also to avoid a crash. I'm glad I did not crash, but I wanted to do much better.
Laverty salvages four points from chaotic race
Sunday, 30 October 2016 10:01
His Pull&Bear Aspar teammate Yonny Hernández retires with a tyre issue
The penultimate race of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship was held up for twenty minutes after a huge rain shower soaked the Selang Circuit just moments before the scheduled start. Once the race was able to start, with the distance reduced from 20 laps to 19, a group of five riders made their break from the rest: poleman Andrea Dovizioso, Valentino Rossi, Andrea Iannone, Cal Crutchlow and Marc Márquez. The first man to rule himself out of contention was the Brit, who went down eight laps from the end, followed a few corners later by Márquez, although he was able to remount and rejoin. Andrea Iannone also went down on the next lap, leaving Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso to fight for the win. A small mistake and a couple of relatively slow laps from Rossi were all Dovizioso needed to become the ninth different winner of this season, the second on a Ducati. With Rossi second and Lorenzo third, the Italian is now confirmed as runner-up in the championship.
Pull&Bear Aspar rider Eugene Laverty brought his Ducati home in twelfth place after a difficult race that saw him lose touch with the main group over the opening few laps. The Irishman struggled under braking in the soaking conditions but as the track dried his pace increased, allowing him to recover lost ground and set his best lap times on two of the last three laps. Sadly it was too little too late for Laverty, who showed the pace to be fighting for at least eighth position today. Yonny Hernández was unable to sign off from the 'flyaway' races with a result after struggling with a soft front tyre that reached its limit with half of the race still left. The Colombian had to retire from the race and, like Laverty, he is now hoping for a strong finish to the season at the Pull&Bear Aspar Team's home race in Valencia.
12th Eugene Laverty: “I'm disappointed in myself because at the start I didn't ride so good. I didn't have a good feeling with the bike when there was a lot of water, I didn't have confidence. Mainly I was losing in the braking. When the track wasn't so wet my lap times were fantastic, my pace was fast like the guys at the front, so it is disappointing that I lost so much in the first six laps or so because the damage was done already. I came through strong to move up to twelfth and I was catching the group in front but unfortunately there wasn't enough laps remaining to catch them and fight for maybe seventh or eight. It's a missed opportunity but in the end the bike was good today.”
Yonny Hernández (DNF): “"I had to pull out of the race here in Malaysia because the front tyre was on the limit. I went with the soft front and hard rear because it was raining so hard but I didn't expect the track to dry out as much as it did. I didn't have the same feeling as the last few days here, we don't know why yet. Hopefully everything goes better in Valencia so that we can have a good weekend right the way through to the end, because it has been a tough season.”
CRUTCHLOW CRASHES OUT OF FIFTH IN MALAYSIA
It was a bitter end to the Malaysian Grand Prix for Cal Crutchlow and the LCR Honda Team as the Brit slid out of the MotoGP race while sitting in fifth place and looking good for a shot at another podium finish.
Heavy downpours before the start of the race delayed the go-ahead, and the race distance was reduced to 19 laps. When the riders finally got away the track was still sodden and proved to be treacherous for Crutchlow, who had made good progress in the early laps.
After having been in fourth and closing on the leaders, he was passed by Honda colleague Marc Marquez, but kept in close touch with the world champion. However, not long after the Brit went to ground at turn two, ending his hopes of podium glory.
#35 Cal Crutchlow – DNF
“I’m a little bit sore after what was a big crash. It wasn’t fast, in fact it was quite slow but I highsided off throttle. Marc almost had the same the lap before but he managed to stay on – he had the luck of landing back on the bike. I thought ‘don’t do what Marc did’, but I nearly ended up on the moon! I landed completely on my face and was a bit disorientated, but then was OK. I have some pain in my big toe and my foot, and in my hand which is broken from the qualifying crash. It was impossible to ride the bike again.”
“It was a shame because it was a definite podium opportunity, but I was struggling with the acceleration. We need how to improve the traction control works because we just weren’t competitive enough in this area, and myself and Marc had to brake ‘hot’ all the time to make up for this.”
“I tried my best and it didn’t work this time, but I’m most disappointed for my team because to spend the week here and get any points is a real shame. We go away happy enough because of recent results but we had to try today, and we did.”
The Malaysian weekend of the LCR Honda Team was marked by several promotional events like Castrol dealers dinner on Saturday night with more than 150 guests coming from Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Cal Crutchlow met his enthusiastic fans on the eve of the penultimate round of the season entertaining them with a dedicated speech and a signing session.
On the same day the LCR Team Principal Lucio Cecchinello had the honour to reward the first Muslim woman to do solo rides around the world. Her name is Anita Yusof and has travelled to more than 89 countries with the precious support of GIVI (best known brands in motorcycle accessories and historical partner of LCR squad). The signing ceremony of GIVI Ambassador was officiated by Miss Hendrika Visenzi, (Vice President Sales & Marketing Director) Mr Joseph A Perucca (Overseas Operational Director of GIVI) and Mr On Hai Swee (Managing Director of Givi Asia Sdn Bhd).
MICHELIN POWER RAIN TYRES HELP DOVIZIOSO TO SPLASH TO SUCCESS AT A SOAKING SEPANG
Michelin saw its range of wet tyres used to great effect today as Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) raced to victory during a rain affected Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix at Sepang in Malaysia and in the process become the ninth MotoGP™ race winner this season.
Starting from pole position, Dovizioso saw that advantage quickly disappear as Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) led the pack into the first corner. By the time the riders had completed the first lap of the rain-soaked 5,543m Sepang International Circuit, Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) had taken the lead, with rest of the field close behind. In the treacherous conditions – which were caused by a torrential downpour as the bikes lined up on the grid and resulted in a delayed start and a reduction of the race distance to 19-laps – most riders chose the medium MICHELIN Power Rain tyres front and rear. As the competitors found the optimum grip through the standing water in the early laps, the lead changed hands many times with – considering the conditions – some impressive overtaking manoeuvres. Dovizioso was sitting in third place and on lap-12 overtook team-mate Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) to take second. The Italian then chased down Rossi and seized his opportunity on lap-15 to take the lead and push clear at the front. Dovizioso never looked back and pulled away to take victory by over three-seconds, with Rossi following him home in the runner-up position. Dovizioso’s second MotoGP victory of his career also makes him the record-breaking ninth different premier class winner in one season.
The final podium place went to Lorenzo as he regained some of his wet weather riding confidence to score a rostrum position. Fourth and the honour of the First Independent Team Rider went to Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) following a great battle with his Ducati team-mate Loris Baz (Avintia Racing) who took fifth. Maverick Viñales (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) was sixth, just ahead of Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) in seventh, with Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) eighth. Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) finished in ninth and Danilo Petrucci (OCTO Pramac Yakhnich) rounded out the top-ten.
A huge crowd of 95,316 – a record for Sepang – braved the awful conditions and were treated to some very impressive racing throughout the day. The fans at trackside also witnessed Frenchman Johann Zarco sealing the Moto2™ title, which was an impressive way to sign-off his intermediate career before moving to MotoGP in 2017.
Michelin and the rest of the paddock now travel back to Europe for the 18th and final race of this record-breaking year, as Valencia holds stage for the season finale on Sunday 13th November.
Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team:
“I am so happy with the result, because I had a bit of a vibration from the right side at the start, but this didn’t become worse during the race so I was able to keep a good feeling. I am very happy about the consistency of the Michelins, there was a lot of grip from the new asphalt and a lot of water, but with the harder tyre the grip was really good and I was able to keep the same lap-time from the beginning to the end, this is normally very difficult. We didn’t really ride a lot in the dry, but what we did was quite good. The harder option on the front we didn’t try, because the medium was the best one and on the rear the soft was really good, in a dry race I think the tyres would have been really good”
Nicolas Goubert – Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme:
“This has been yet another weekend when the weather has played a big part in the whole event. We never had a single session over the three-days where the track was completely dry, so we didn’t get to see the full potential of the slick tyres we brought here. With the damp patches the riders were quite cautious, but they did report they had very good feeling from both the front and rear and the wear levels looked good. We hoped for a dry race, but that was certainly not the case as the clouds opened and made the track very dangerous, so it was a good idea to delay the start. Throughout the race we saw many impressive overtaking manoeuvres and it was an extremely positive thing that the riders had so much trust to push so hard. The rain tyres worked very well in these conditions and we were very pleased with the consistency through the whole race. I want to congratulate Andrea Dovizioso on his victory, it has been incredible to have nine winners in a season and something that we are delighted to be a part of. We now move on to Valencia and the final round, but it also the beginning of a new season as well because there is an important test the week after, so we will be preparing some new tyres for the riders to try.”