A dramatic Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix saw Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi claim Yamaha‘s tenth double podium of the season at the Sepang International Circuit.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Jorge Lorenzo gave a brilliant performance today to take second at a scorching hot Sepang International Circuit and prolong the championship battle to the final round in Valencia. Teammate Valentino Rossi fought one of the hardest battles of his career to protect his championship ambitions and took third. He received three penalty points by the Race Direction for which an appeal to the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) was rejected.
Lorenzo had a good start off the line at the beginning of the Sepang battle, but found himself squeezed out by Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso and emerged from the first corner in sixth position. The Majorcan immediately went to work and needed only half a lap to recover to fourth in pursuit of his teammate.
... he was playing his dirty game, even worse than in Australia.
Lorenzo soon arrived at the back of Rossi and smoothly passed him after two laps to move up to second when Marquez made a mistake in turn four and the Majorcan took full advantage. Lorenzo quickly moved on to chase Dani Pedrosa, but was unable to win ground and finished the race in second, trailing 3.612s.
As of today‘s race Valentino Rossi holds the record of most starts in Grand Prix history with 329 starts in what is probably his most dramatic as of yet. The Doctor had a good launch from third on the grid and kept his position as he settled behind Pedrosa and Marquez into the first turn. As Lorenzo started to move up the order, Rossi tried to respond, but was forced to let the Majorcan pass with nineteen laps to go and soon found himself trailing Marquez and one of the most heated scraps of the century ensued.
For four laps the Italian and Spaniard bashed fairings and overtook in almost every corner. The fight was decided when with fourteen laps to go Marc crashed as the result of the two coming into contact at turn 13. Rossi continued the race in third place in a lonely ride and held his position over the line, 13.724s from the front.
Lorenzo‘s comeback from second row to second place earns him 20 points and leaves him second in the championship standings with 305 points. Rossi‘s performance sees him take 16 points and leaves him still leading on 312 points, just 7 points in front of his teammate in the battle for the World Championship Title.
Following the incident in turn 13, Race Direction has decided to impose 3 penalty points to Rossi, who will start the next Valencia race from the back of the grid. The following appeal by the Team to the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) has been rejected.
Jorge Lorenzo: "It was a very hard race. I gave the maximum to keep Dani‘s rear wheel as close as possible, but to be honest his pace had been unbelievable. He was so quick and consistent and picked up the bike in a perfect way, so it was very difficult to overtake him on braking. I could only finish in second place, which is important because we recovered points. When I saw the battle between Marc and Valentino I was really surprised because the action was huge and I have to respect race direction‘s decision."
Valentino Rossi: "Marquez knows it wasn‘t red mist that caused the incident. It‘s very clear from the helicopter footage that I didn‘t want to make him crash, I just wanted to make him lose time, go outside of the line and slow down, because he was playing his dirty game, even worse than in Australia. When I went wide and slowed down to nearly a stop, I looked at him as if to say ’what are you doing?‘.
After that we touched. He touched with his right underarm on my leg and my foot slipped off the foot peg. If you look at the image from the helicopter it‘s clear that when my foot slipped of the foot peg, Marquez had already crashed. I didn‘t want to kick him, especially because, if you give a kick to a MotoGP bike, it won‘t crash, it‘s very heavy.
For me the sanction is not fair, because Marquez won his fight. His program is OK because he is making me lose the championship. The sanction is not good, especially for me, because I didn‘t purposefully want to make him crash, I just reacted to his behaviour, but I didn‘t kick him.
You can‘t say anything in the press conference, maybe it changes something, but to me this was not fair, because I just want to fight for the championship with Jorge and let the better man win, but like this that‘s not happening. Like I said, I didn‘t want to make Marquez crash, but I had to do something because at that moment Jorge was already gone. The championship is not over yet, but this sanction cut me off by the legs and made Marquez win."
Massimo Meregalli - Team Director
"It‘s a shame to see such a beautiful championship, that was supposed to result in one of the most exciting battles between the two Yamaha riders, be affected and almost compromised by another rider. We should be here today dealing with Jorge‘s amazing performance on track and his second place, as well as another thrilling battle among top riders but unfortunately this is not the case. We made an appeal to the FIM stewards against the penalty issued by the Race Direction because whilst we respect the infringement, we felt 3 penalty points were too harsh. We have since heard that the appeal has been rejected. We respect this final decision."