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 Majorcanwas 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.
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.”
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.”
Original article available courtesy Yamaha MotoGP and available here.
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