Repsol Honda rider seals 12th win of the year ahead of teammates Rossi and Lorenzo.
Marc Marquez sealed a thrilling victory at today’s Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix with the 2014 MotoGP World Champion stepping onto the top step of the podium for the 12th time this year after a brilliant battle at the Sepang International Circuit that saw Movistar Yamaha Teammates Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo having to give best to their younger rival and secure second and third places respectively.
Marquez didn’t get of to a great start from pole position after nearly colliding with Lorenzo at turn one sending the Repsol Honda rider out wide and dropping to 6th position while his teammate Dani Pedrosa took over at the front with Lorenzo, Rossi and Ducati Team rider Andrea Dovizioso following closely. The race formation was once again changed nearing the end of lap 2 when Lorenzo moved through on Pedrosa who then lost the front of his machine leaving the Spaniard to rejoin near the back of the field.
Lorenzo continued to lead Rossi and Dovizioso for a short number of laps before Marquez began to claw back some time on the leaders with Dovizioso the first in line to be overtaken before the double world champion set his factory Yamahas while there was bad luck further back in the field for NGM Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro and Alvaro Bautista (GO&Fun Honda Gresini) who both crashed out while battling for track positions.
Rossi took over the lead from Lorenzo moving into the second half of the race and it wasn’t before long that Marquez followed Rossi and moved past Lorenzo but the younger Spaniard wasn’t settling for second and within a couple of laps he had moved into the lead with Rossi right on his tail. There was even more misfortune however for Marquez’s teammate Pedrosa who crashed out of the race while circulating in 11th place. Nicky Hayden crashed out of the race on the Drive M7 Aspar machine while Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham had another DNF after he also crashed out.
Marquez pads his lead
The race finally simmered down with just a few laps to go with Rossi settling for second position as Marquez continued to extend his lead at the front with Lorenzo pushing hard to the end but having to settle for third. LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl managed to stay ahead of Bradley Smith for 4th place with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider right on the German’s tail at the end of the race while there was a great performance from Smith’s teammate Pol Espargaro who finished in 6th despite having to ride with a broken bone in his left foot following his monster highside crash yesterday.
Yonny Hernandez finished in 7th place for the Energy TI Pramac Racing team with the Columbian finishing in front of Dovizioso who fell right off the pace at the end of the race. Hector Barbera finished his race in 9th for the Avintia Racing team while Scott Redding rounded off the top ten for the GO&Fun Honda Gresini team. Cal Crutchlow had to retire from the race with his Ducati Team GP14 developing a technical fault while there were also retirements for Danilo Petrucci (Octo IodaRacing Team) and NGM Forward Racing’s Alex De Angelis.
Thrilled Marquez works out perfect race strategy to seal victory
Marquez has now equaled Mick Doohan’s record of taking 12 wins in one season and speaking afterwards he said, “This was one of the toughest races of the year for me physically and I'm happy to have equaled 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.” Marquez added.
Rossi very happy with second after tough practice and qualifying
“This race is the most difficult race for the riders but I felt good with my preparations,” Rossi said who continued, “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.” Rossi added.
Sweltering heat hampers Lorenzo's chances of taking victory
Lorenzo was unable to keep up the high tempo being set by his teammate and Marquez. Speaking afterwards he said, “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.
MotoGP now returns to Europe for the 18th and final round of this year’s championship on 9th November, the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana.