Pedrosa Flawless Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa rode a flawless race to finish in second place in the rain-affected Malaysian Grand Prix today and record his first ever wet-weather Grand Prix podium. His team-mate Andrea Dovizioso looked on course...
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa rode a flawless race to finish in second place in the rain-affected Malaysian Grand Prix today and record his first ever wet-weather Grand Prix podium. His team-mate Andrea Dovizioso looked on course to join Pedrosa in the top the three - and even perhaps steal second from him - but the Italian was unlucky to fall out of the race with six laps to go.
Heavy rain during the run-up to the race caused the start to be delayed by 35 minutes, and when the lights finally went out, Pedrosa took an early lead on the soaking Sepang circuit. Meanwhile, Dovizioso made stunning progress from 11th on the grid, steering his RC212V to the inside of the start-finish straight and moving up to fifth after the first corner. The Italian continued his forward march and, amazingly, was up to third place behind Pedrosa by the end of lap one.
Though Pedrosa was passed for the lead by Casey Stoner on lap one, the Spaniard was able to set an impressive pace in the wet and the Repsol Honda pair circulated in second and third places for 14 consecutive laps. After Dovizioso's unfortunate fall, Pedrosa successfully held off Valentino Rossi and came home in second - his third podium finish in successive races. The result means Pedrosa has not finished outside the top three at Sepang since his MotoGP debut here in 2006.
Casey Stoner won today's race and Valentino Rossi came home behind Pedrosa in third to secure his seventh premier-class World Championship with one race of the 2009 season remaining: the Grand Prix of Valencia, which takes place in two weeks' time.
DANI PEDROSA -- 2nd -- World Championship position: 4th 209 points
"Riding in the rain has always been one of my weakest points and so for a long time I have tried to improve this by working hard and going over my limit in the wet. This hasn't been an easy process, but now, finally, I achieved a podium in the wet so I'm really happy and I want to thank all the people who have helped in this process. In the middle of the race Andrea was just behind and he was closing and was putting some pressure on me, but I was riding well and I was able to keep my focus and concentration. Finally when Andrea went off, another rider was coming and this time it was Valentino. He was going quite a lot faster than me, but in the last laps I kept my rhythm and was able to finish in second place. I'm very happy today. I also want to congratulate Valentino on the world championship - nine titles is amazing. Now we go to Valencia and we'll be trying hard again there. It's a track that I love and there will be a lot of fans too, so I'm looking forward to it."
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO -- DNF -- World Championship position: 5th - 152 points
"I was having a really good race and a podium would have been a really positive result for me and the team in our current situation, so of course I'm very disappointed about how it finished. Actually I didn't get off the line too well but in the braking zone into turn one and through the first two corners I was able to overtake many riders and climb up to fifth place. My first lap was very good and I was moving forward quickly. Once into third position, I was riding close to the limit and was closing on Dani - and I definitely had my sights set on the podium finish. The Bridgestone wet tyres were working well, though you always have to be very careful because they are very soft. Then, during the 15th lap, the front turned more quickly than usual and it tucked. It's a shame today because I was feeling good on the machine and I really wanted this result for myself and the team. However, we'll come back fighting for the final race of the year at Valencia."
KAZUHIKO YAMANO - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
"Dani's podium in these wet conditions was a significant milestone for him and also a good result for the team. Dani is having a strong finish to the season and now he will have a lot of confidence going into the final race at Valencia because that's another track at which he usually performs very well. For Andrea the race was looking very promising, especially considering his stating position of 11th, so it's shame for him to miss the probable podium finish. He's very disappointed naturally, but he and the team can take the positives from his race performance and come back strongly for the final race of 2009."