Malaysian MotoGP: Motorsport.com's rider ratings

The MotoGP contingent had to weather extreme conditions at Sepang, with the Malaysian skies allowing some of the sport's underdogs to steal the limelight.

Jorge Lorenzo - 7

Considering Lorenzo's season so far, the three-time champion was pretty bullish about his chances after banking a front row start in the wet conditions. But conditions got a whole lot wetter on Sunday and Lorenzo lacked the confidence to stay with the leading pack for more than a few laps. He admits he got "lucky" in scoring the podium, and he clearly did - but he deserves credit for what was a correct approach in the circumstances.

Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose Photography

Valentino Rossi - 9

Two races on from exiting the title fight, Rossi produced another superb weekend - but his best efforts are still not enough to end Yamaha's losing streak. Closest of all to a super-fast Dovizioso in qualifying, Rossi actually looked like winning the race for half the distance, but as the track dried out and a front tyre issue reared its head, it became no longer possible. After running wide at the hairpin and allowing Dovi through, he correctly settled for second.

Podium: second place Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Podium: second place Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose Photography

Marc Marquez - 5

By his own admission, it’s a good thing Marquez already had his third world title wrapped up, as the tiniest of errors left the Spaniard on the floor for the second time in two weeks. Unlike at Phillip Island, however, Marquez’s RC213V was in good enough for condition to continue – and after remounting in 15th place, he had worked his way up to 11th by the time the chequered flag flew.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose Photography

Hiroshi Aoyama - 2

With Nicky Hayden busy on World Superbike duty in Qatar, Honda was left with little option but to call back Aoyama to stand in for the absent Dani Pedrosa in Malaysia despite the Japanese rider’s wholly underwhelming showing on home soil at Motegi. Not helped by the weather, Aoyama had an even harder time in Sepang, as the ex-250cc champion failed to contribute to the team’s points tally.

Hiroshi Aoyama, Repsol Honda
Hiroshi Aoyama, Repsol Honda

Photo by: Gold and Goose Photography

Andrea Dovizioso - 10

Whether you believe Crutchlow, who says Dovi was "cruising" in the early stages of the race, or the Italian himself, who says he was genuinely "scared" about a minor bike problem, there's no denying this was an absolute masterclass from the Ducati man. It was fairly clear from the very start of Q2 that he would be the rider to beat in the conditions, and he executed the race perfectly.

Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team
Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose Photography

Andrea Iannone - 7

It's fair to ask some questions of Iannone's approach as he again threw his bike down the road on Sunday while set for a great result, even if he was seemingly unaware that Marquez and Crutchlow had gone down right behind him. But the Maniac deserves some to be cut some slack on this one - for somebody just back from a painful injury, he was seriously quick, and his battle with Rossi probably helped teammate Dovizioso ease past the Yamaha in the end.

Andrea Iannone, Ducati Team
Andrea Iannone, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose Photography

Hector Barbera - 8

After a pretty average stint on the works Ducati, Barbera was back to his best on his first outing back in the familiar confines of the Avintia squad. After he was shaded by teammate Baz in qualifying, the pair’s race-long battle took on extra significance as other riders ahead fell by the wayside, and in the end it was the Spaniard who came out on top to bank his best-ever MotoGP finish in fourth place.

Hector Barbera, Avintia Racing
Hector Barbera, Avintia Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose Photography

Loris Baz - 8

Never one to pass up the opportunity to shine in the wet, Baz beat several more fancied runners to a Q2 berth and then proceeded to get his best-ever grid slot of 10th. Had the measure of Barbera for most of the distance, but slipped behind with four laps to go – and just kept the Suzuki of Vinales at bay in the closing laps to cap off an incredible weekend for Avintia.

Loris Baz, Avintia Racing
Loris Baz, Avintia Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose Photography

Maverick Vinales - 7

Sepang marked the 15th consecutive race that Vinales finished in the points, the Yamaha-bound Spaniard continuing to show an ability to reliably bank results that you wouldn't usually associate with a sophomore rider. Despite showing promise in practice, Vinales didn't look to have great pace on Saturday and Sunday, but a sixth-place finish for the rain-averse Suzuki bike is a solid enough outcome.

Maverick Viñales, Team Suzuki Ecstar MotoGP
Maverick Viñales, Team Suzuki Ecstar MotoGP

Photo by: Gold and Goose Photography

Aleix Espargaro - 4

Espargaro outqualified his teammate Vinales for a third race in a row, only to be beaten over a grand prix distance for the 13th race in a row. Gambling on the soft tyre, he looked competitive early on, but made a very costly mistake by running wide and allowing a ton of bikes through. He couldn't make much progress from there, and any semblance of pace was basically gone by the final laps.

Aleix Espargaro, Team Suzuki Ecstar MotoGP
Aleix Espargaro, Team Suzuki Ecstar MotoGP

Photo by: Gold and Goose Photography

Cal Crutchlow - 5

The LCR Honda rider’s miraculous recent run of results had to come to an end sooner or later, and with crashes in FP3, qualifying and the race, Crutchlow’s weekend was reminiscent of some of his wilder outings earlier in the year. Still, the Brit heroically took a battered bike to fifth on the grid after his Q2 crash and was on course for another top-five finish before losing the rear at Turn 2 in the race.

Cal Crutchlow, Team LCR Honda after his crash
Cal Crutchlow, Team LCR Honda after his crash

Photo by: Gold and Goose Photography

Jack Miller - 6

With Crutchlow and Marquez hitting the deck, it was left to Marc VDS rider Miller to fly the flag for Honda in the constructors’ stakes, and the Australian took advantage of the attrition ahead to score his best finish since the summer break with P8. Lost out on a Q2 spot by the slimmest of margins, but hung on gamely ahead of Pol Espargaro and Petrucci in the race to bank eight critical points.

Jack Miller, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS
Jack Miller, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS

Photo by: Gold and Goose Photography

Pol Espargaro - 6

Another race and another solid enough result from the Tech 3 rider, even if he generally didn't seem to get along with the conditions. The French team is, in all likelihood, heading for its first podium-less season since 2007, but Espargaro continues to provide some stability in terms of points amid a tough campaign.

Pol Espargaro, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Pol Espargaro, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Photo by: Gold and Goose Photography

Bradley Smith - 4

Smith only just missed out on a Q2 spot on Saturday, and generally looked in good shape for the race after a supremely encouraging showing at Phillip Island. However, the Briton, still recovering from his knee injury, could not get the tyre to work for him in the extreme conditions of the race, and ended up finishing a rather lonely 14th, 11 seconds adrift of his teammate.

Bradley Smith, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Bradley Smith, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Photo by: Gold and Goose Photography

Scott Redding - 3

Looked competitive enough in the dry, but it came as a shock to see Redding – a rider who often is at his best when the weather takes a turn for the worst – struggle to make any kind of impression in a wet qualifying and race. Seven tenths adrift of Petrucci in qualifying, the British rider struggled with a chronic lack of rear grip and ended up 15 seconds down on the Italian in the race.

Scott Redding, Octo Pramac Racing
Scott Redding, Octo Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose Photography

Danilo Petrucci - 6

Aragon antics aside, Petrucci has staked a very strong claim to the GP17 next year by grinding out a fifth top-10 result in the last seven races and leaving Redding in his wake. Struggling with visibility, a belt-and-braces approach paid dividends in the end as others ahead crashed and Petrux steadily climbed from 15th to 10th, only just behind Miller and Pol Espargaro.

Danilo Petrucci, Pramac Racing
Danilo Petrucci, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose Photography

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Event Malaysian GP
Track Sepang International Circuit
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Bradley Smith , Hector Barbera , Andrea Dovizioso , Jorge Lorenzo , Cal Crutchlow , Hiroshi Aoyama , Scott Redding , Aleix Espargaro , Marc Marquez , Danilo Petrucci , Loris Baz , Pol Espargaro , Andrea Iannone , Jack Miller , Maverick Viñales
Article type Special feature