Dani Pedrosa soared to his third win of the 2013 MotoGP world championship in a thrilling Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit with the Spaniard riding a perfect race and sealing victory ahead of Repsol Honda teammate Marc Marquez who had one of the best battles of this year with main championship rival Jorge Lorenzo with the Yamaha Factory Racing rider having to settle for third place.
I am very happy with this win, as it is very special.
Lorenzo continued to lead the Repsol Honda riders who were locked together for the first 5 laps but when Pedrosa made a move on the reigning World Champion, Lorenzo couldn’t respond as Marquez also attempted to grab an advantage but Lorenzo wasn’t going to be pushed back to fourth se easily and while they began what would become one of the best battles of this year’s championship, Pedrosa began to pull a slight advantage at the front. There was bad luck early for Colin Edwards (NGM Mobile Forward Racing), Hector Barbera (Avintia Blusens), and Paul Bird Motorsport rider Michael Laverty who were all given rider through penalties for jumping the start.
There was bad luck in short succession, first for Andrea Iannone who retired his Energy TI Pramac Racing Ducati with what looked to be a front end problem and then the Ducati Team machine of Nicky Hayden had to be retired with smoke coming from the rear of the GP13. Back on track Crutchlow and Bautista were locked in battle for 5th while at the front Marquez set out in an attempt to reel his teammate in while Lorenzo was doing everything he could to keep up with his younger rival. There were also retirements from Lukas Pesek (Came IodaRacing Project) and Laverty who had more bad luck when he crashed.
Nearing the final quarter of the race, Marquez was circulating at a rapid pace in his pursuit of Pedrosa but try as he may, Pedrosa was not going to be outdone and maintained his advantage at the front while Lorenzo and Rossi were separated by a similar margin. There was still action on track in the form of Bautista and Crutchlow who were locked in battle for 5th and neither rider was backing down with multiple passes thrilling the crowds of fans. The battle would eventually go to Bautista whose Honda RC213V had the overall speed advantage over the satellite Yamaha machine.
The last few laps saw Marquez drop off the pace a little but not enough to allow Lorenzo to catch him while Pedrosa showed no sign of slowing in pursuit of his first victory of this year since French Grand Prix at Le Mans. While Marquez and Lorenzo took the final podium positions, Rossi finished in 4th ahead of Bautista and Crutchlow while Smith secured 7th in front of Dovizioso and teammate Hayden and Aleix Espargaro once again claiming the title of best CRT rider. The final places were taken up by Yonny Hernandez (Ignite Pramac Racing), Hiroshi Aoyama (Avintia Blusens), Randy De Puniet (Power Electronics Aspar), Claudio Corti (NGM Mobile Forward Racing), Hector Barbera (Avintia Blusens), Danilo Petrucci (Came IodaRacing Project), Edwards, Luca Scassa (Cardion AB Motoracing) and Bryan Staring (GO&Fun Honda Gresini CRT).
Pedrosa was delighted with his victory and speaking afterwards he said, ""I am very happy with this win, as it is very special. My level of riding today was very good and the victory comes after a difficult week – in which I was laid up in bed and could hardly move. To come here and win is fantastic, so thanks to all my team! It is a pity about what happened in Aragón, because we had the pace and the same chance of the win as we did here. However, we can’t keep looking back; we need to continue on and try to carry our form into the final races.”
Lorenzo conceded that his hopes of retaining his MotoGP crown is almost over but remains focused on finishing the season strongly. He said, “We were much slower than the others today, especially after three or four laps. I tried to open a gap at the beginning like always but there was +0 on the board after a couple of laps. When Dani passed I tried to stay with him and also then again when Marc passed me. I tried to pass him some more times to make him nervous but it was impossible, he was much stronger today so we couldn't do much more. To win the championship is almost impossible but I would like to finish second in the championship and win as many races as possible.”