Pedrosa overcomes Malaysian storm to claim victory in Sepang

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Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa closed the gap to the current points leader in the 2012 MotoGP World Championship, Jorge Lorenzo, with his sixth victory in 2012 today and, amazingly, it is his first win in the rain that soaked the Sepang International Circuit from early morning. Starting the race alongside his main rival, Pedrosa found the right place to overtake Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo for the lead. Riding his RC213V, the Spaniard kept his cool despite dealing with the stormy weather.

This victory is really amazing for me; it's the first time I've won in the wet in my life and I'm really, really happy.

Dani Pedrosa

The race was deemed a wet race early by the MotoGP officials due to the safety aspect of their riders and from the start it was clear that it was going to be a close race at the front while in the lower positions everything was to play for with Ducati Racing’s Valentino Rossi making the most of the wet conditions to shoot from 11th on the grid to 5th position in just the first lap. Settling into third place early on was Pedrosa’s teammate Casey Stoner who was in turn being chased by Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Andrea Dovizioso.

Within the first two laps Lorenzo and Pedrosa had pulled away with the Yamaha man in front while Stoner, Dovizioso and Rossi continued to have their own battle for the final podium position. Meanwhile, the battle for the top CRT place was being led by Power Electronics rider Randy De Puniet. The first sign of the weather affecting the riders’ ability to stay on their machines came with 12 laps to go when he high-sided his YZR-M1 and crashed heavily with the rider holding his wrist.

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

Photo by: Yamaha MotoGP

Pedrosa passed Lorenzo at the halfway point of the 20 lap race and he instantly moved away from his rival with Lorenzo then being left on his own but within one lap he was being reeled in by Stoner with the advantage coming from the hard wet rubber that both Hondas were using while the Lorenzo’s Yamaha was running on soft rubber. The rain then began to fall even heavier on the circuit and with no end in sight and with most of the riders slowing down, and Lorenzo signaling for the race to be stopped, race direction did just that on lap 14 with the results being declared from the end of lap 13 giving Pedrosa the win with Lorenzo and Stoner in second and third respectively.

The Ducati Racing pair of Rossi and Nicky Hayden finished in formation with Hayden getting the best of Rossi for 5th while San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista brought his RC213V home in 6th place. Pramac Racing’s Hector Barbera ended his day in 7th place while the CRT battle was won by Power Electronics rider Aleix Espargaro. James Ellison secured a 9th place finish for the Paul Bird Motorsport team with Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham in 10th. Danilo Petrucci finished in 11th for the Came IodaRacing team and finshed ahead of San Carlo Honda Gresini CRT rider Michele Pirro with Dovizioso ending his race in 13th and the last rider to cross the finish line following a crash that saw him miss out on a 4th place finish.

Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda), Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech3), Randy De Puniet (Power Electronics Aspar), Ivan Silva (Avintia Blusens), Colin Edwards (NGM Forward Racing) , Roberto Rolfo (Speedmaster) and Spies all crashed and didn’t finish the race while Lorenzo was also luck to stay on his machine following a brief scare while in 2nd place.

Pedrosa was thrilled with his wet weather win saying, “This victory is really amazing for me; it's the first time I've won in the wet in my life and I'm really, really happy. I want to thank my team and the people who helped me to get here because when I started racing in these conditions I was weak and they know how difficult it's been during all this time! Jorge set a really high pace at the beginning of the race and I remained calm to stay with him. I knew he was on a soft rear tire and he could pull out some good laps at the start.

Lap by lap I got a little more confident and I could still push and at half way in the race I overtook him and built a good gap. Some laps later the rain came down heave and it was hard to stay on the bike. I was lucky to be able to win this race, and also Jor ge to finish second because he was almost on the ground. So, I'm happy for the victory, but especially happy to be able to dedicate it to Ginés, a good friend and member of the Repsol Honda Team that sadly passed away yesterday. This one is for you!” Pedrosa added.

Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda Team
Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Red Bull GmbH and GEPA pictures GmbH

Lorenzo was just happy to see the race stopped before he had any more near misses. He said, “If we were riding at 20km per hour it is easy to stay on the bike but it is very difficult to find the limit in these conditions. They made the right decision to stop the race, for us it was great because we might otherwise have finished on the ground and crashed. We used the soft rear where Dani and Casey used the harder one. When the conditions were ok they used less of the center of the tire so when the conditions became worse they had more to play with.”

Stoner was happy with his podium and revealed that he nearly didn’t even start the race due to his concern for his still-injured ankle. “At the start of the race, I would have been very happy for a podium,” said the reigning World Champion while adding, “I was considering not taking part in the rain at all as the risks were very high - if I had come off the bike again and hit my ankle, it would have been game over for the rest of the season. As the race progressed I slowly got my confidence back and I was working on different things as I hadn't ridden in the wet in quite some time. I slowly began to catch the front two but unfortunately ran out of time as the red flagged the race. In a lot of ways I'm disappointed, but I'm happy with the points haul we took today and another podium.”

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About this article
Series MOTOGP
Article type Race reports
Tags featured, honda, lorenzo, malaysia, pedrosa, sepang, stoner, yamaha