Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow both fell out of contention while challenging for the top five in monsoon conditions at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia this afternoon.
Italian Dovizioso immediately put himself in contention for a seventh podium finish of the season and he was in hot pursuit of reigning World Champion Casey Stoner. But with the rain getting heavier and track conditions worsening by the second, he crashed out of fourth position on lap 10.
Dovizioso was able to remount his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine and re-join the action in 14th position. The race was then red flagged on lap 13 with Race Direction halting proceedings as standing water began to appear in sections of the track.
With seven laps still to be completed, a scheduled restart was later abandoned with the conditions showing no sign of improving and full World Championship points were awarded, with Dovizioso picking up three points for 13th.
British rider Crutchlow was also having a very strong race after a cautious start. The 26-year-old expertly judged where he could push without too many risks to climb from 10th to fifth. He had just passed Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl when he fell out of contention at the final corner on lap 11.
The spill cost Crutchlow more precious points in his quest to finish fifth in the World Championship rankings but he is confident he can return to the podium battle in next weekend's Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island.
Andrea Dovizioso Position 13th - Time: +1'28.989 “It's a real pity that the rain came this afternoon. We did such a good job during the weekend with the bike in the dry and we started strong from the first session, so to find these really bad conditions was unlucky for us today. I was ready for a really hard race in hot weather and I'm sure I would have been fighting for the podium in the dry. We can't change it and I certainly didn't have the same good feeling in the wet. I had a big slide off the start and lost some places but I managed to get into a fast pace quite quickly. It is very difficult to start a race in the rain with no other time on track in the wet all weekend. I was quite fast but I was lacking rear grip. I could brake very strong but I struggled at exit of the corner. I pushed really hard trying to pass Casey and I lost the front without braking while at maximum angle. I still managed to score some points and finish the race but we expected much more and I am determined to bounce back quickly next week in Australia.”
Cal Crutchlow DNF “It has been a pretty disappointing weekend to be honest and another DNF has really hurt my chances of finishing fifth in the Championship because Valentino and Alvaro were behind me in the race. When I crashed the rain had really started to fall heavily and I was braking upright. I must have hit some standing water but I was down with no chance to save it. We struggled all weekend to find a good set-up in the dry and I had no rear grip. Unfortunately it was the same in the rain and we need to understand why for the future. I had to make up all my time on the brakes and I was pushing and got caught out. Phillip Island is a track I love, so hopefully I can put the disappointment of here and Japan behind me to finish the season strong.”
Hervé Poncharal - Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager “We were really confident last night after Andrea had finished on the front row of the grid. He was very positive that he could battle for the podium again and we were even thinking that he might be able to push Dani and Jorge in the dry. But the weather played a pivotal role today and it turned out to be a very disappointing afternoon for us. The conditions were very unpredictable but Andrea and Cal were doing a very good job. Andrea was pushing very hard and after only two laps he was back in fourth and in the hunt for the podium. It is a pity that he crashed because we were confident that he was going to put pressure on Casey and go for the podium. It is the same story for Cal. At the stage of the race he crashed the conditions were incredibly difficult and I suppose we can be thankful that both of them are fit for Phillip Island. It wasn't a good result for the Championship but at least Cal was fighting inside the top five again. I don't think anybody can say the race wasn't stopped at the right time and hopefully we will have dry weather in Australia and both of them will be pushing for the rostrum."
Source: Yamaha Racing