Valentino Rossi claimed the victory in the Marlboro Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, the thirteenth round of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP), after a fantastic duel with Ducati racer Loris Capirossi on the Sepang ...
Valentino Rossi claimed the victory in the Marlboro Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, the thirteenth round of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP), after a fantastic duel with Ducati racer Loris Capirossi on the Sepang circuit.
The podium was completed by Dani Pedrosa, who almost missed today's race after a crash on Friday. However, the Spaniard was able to save the weekend and take important points, finishing right ahead of his teammate and standings leader, Nicky Hayden.
The final laps of the competition saw both contenders for the victory switching positions numerous times before the reigning World Champion eventually ran out as winner in the circuit on which Rossi made his debut in the Continental Circus ten years ago, in 1996.
"That was another legendary battle between myself and Loris -- very hard but also very fair. At Brno he escaped but today I was able to hang on to him", Rossi said after the podium, like a revenge due to Capirossi's victory two weeks ago in Czech Republic.
"When both our bikes are working well it is always spectacular because his performs better in some sections and mine in others so it makes for a beautiful fight. I enjoy racing with him so much because there is a lot of respect between us and a great trust - he is probably the hardest rival I have ever had but also one of my best friends in the paddock", added the seven-time World Champion.
Surely it was another historical victory -- of the many he already has -- for Rossi, that proved that when the Yamaha M1 is there to win, the Italian takes cares of the rest.
Despite not taking the victory at the end, Capirossi and Ducati showed to be in the right way and confirmed the bike's recuperation since Brno Grand Prix.
"The whole weekend has been great for us. At the start I overtook a few guys, took the lead and tried to go away but realised I couldn't. When Valentino overtook me the first time, then Dani, it was because I'd opened the gas too early and lost some grip. But I wasn't worried because I knew my rhythm was good. The battle with Valentino was great, we overtook each other many times but always in a correct manner", Capirossi commented.
About the head-to-head fight with Rossi in the last part of the race, the 33 year-old rider explained: "It was easy to win or lose this race, no one could say who was going to win before the last corner, but I think a battle like this is so good for the sport. My problem wasn't the last corner, it was the one before where I had a bit too much spin on the exit".
It was the sixth podium of year for Capirossi and the 35th for him in MotoGP (former 500cc). The Italian is enjoying one of his best seasons in the fight for the title.
Repsol Honda's Pedrosa raced despite feeling pain from his left foot, he matched the pace of the leaders for most of the race, finishing just 3.8s from the winner.
"The result is very good. The big decision today was whether or not I would race, and until the last moment I was still in doubt about it. We chose to race and they gave me one injection to take away the pain", Pedrosa mentioned.
"In the race my left foot hurt, and so did my left knee but in the right knee I felt no pain. I got a good start but I was expecting the leaders to pull away and I also expected the lap times to be a little faster than they were. At the end I was very tired - my bike had just the basic set-up because I lost time in practice so I was riding on the limit in the race. In the end I got the result - that's the important thing", the 20 year-old rider added.
Pedrosa's effort gave him the reward of taking his eighth podium in his debut season in MotoGP, which keeps him close in the championship fight.
The standings have Hayden still as the leader with 214 points, followed by Pedrosa with 192 and Rossi with 188. Capirossi is the new fourth with 171, while Marco Melandri -- ninth today -- is fifth with 168 units.
Next week will continue the season for MotoGP in Phillip Island circuit for the GMC Australian Grand Prix getting into the final four rounds searching for the champion.