Dani Pedrosa has won the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle GP, collecting his third victory of the 2013 MotoGP season. Marc Marquez completed a Repsol Honda Team one-two after a nail-biting battle with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo, who rounded out the podium.
Pedrosa – who also won here last year – finished the race 2.7 seconds ahead of Marquez to record his third victory of the season where he sits just 11 points behind Lorenzo. Without the Aragon crash – which wasn’t his fault – he would still be very much in contention for the World Championship.
Dani Pedrosa: “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 Aragon, 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.”
Starting from the second row of the grid, Pedrosa grabbed the lead from Lorenzo on lap five and was soon clear of the battle that raged behind him, with Lorenzo and pole-sitter Marquez swapping positions time and again before half distance.
At one point the Yamaha rider made contact with Marquez – who had set a new lap record on lap two – but their fight continued unabated until Marquez went inside his rival at Turn 14 on the ninth lap.
From that moment on, Marquez only had Pedrosa ahead, but he had lost too much time fighting back and forth with Lorenzo and soon realised that chasing his team-mate would entail taking too many risks, knowing full well that all he really needed to do was increase his points advantage over the reigning champ, which he duly did.
The result means all three of the rostrum finishers retain mathematical possibilities of clinching the World Championship, although Marquez is the only rider who could claim the title at Phillip Island next weekend. Should he do so, the 20-year-old Catalan would become the first rookie premier class title winner for 35 years.
Marc Marquez: “These twenty points are very important and I’m really happy with how the race went today. I had a nice, fun battle with Lorenzo, but at the same time I could see that Dani was opening up a gap. When I finally managed to overtake Jorge and make the pass stick, I tried to reduce the distance that Dani had put between us. However, I saw that it was too risky to do so. From that moment on, I decided to focus on keeping Lorenzo at bay, because the goal here was to finish the race ahead of him. We did what we came here to do, so we are very happy!”
Jorge Lorenzo: 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.”
Outside of the top three at Sepang, multiple winner Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory Racing) experienced a somewhat lonely ride to fourth spot as Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) came out on top in a battle with Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech3).
Valentino Rossi: “Today was half and half for me, for sure we improved and made another step, improving the setting of the bike and I was able to be very close to Jorge. It looks like today our competitors had an advantage here; they were able to keep a better rhythm than us. Starting from second I hoped to arrive on the podium but I knew the top three guys were very strong. At the beginning of the race I lost some time as I had a problem with the front brakes.”
Alvaro Bautista: “I made a good start and that allowed me to get away with the front group for a few laps but then I had a moment when I couldn’t get the front brake lever fully on and I ran wide. It took me a couple of laps to get confident with the brakes again and I lost touch. Maybe in the battle with Valentino I overheated the brakes. It was a shame but I fought my way back to Crutchlow and then gritted my teeth to beat him in a fight to the end.”
Bautista now moves up to sixth place in the Riders’ Championship, ahead of LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl who was forced to miss the race because of a broken ankle.
Tech3’s Bradley Smith and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso were seventh and eighth, ahead of lead CRT runner Aleix Espargaro (Power Electronics Aspar) and Yonny Hernandez (Ignite Pramac Racing).
In 15th spot, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards clinched the final point after he, Avintia Blusens’ Hector Barbera and PBM’s Michael Laverty were handed ride-through penalties for jumping the start.
A total of five riders failed to finish, including 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden who parked his Ducati Team machine on the start/finish straight after suffering technical problems.
With four races to go in 2013, Sepang marked the first event of a triple-header which next weekend takes the MotoGP fraternity to Phillip Island, for the Tissot Australian Grand Prix.
Aussie, Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG FTR Honda) rode a heroic Moto3 race, fighting his way into the lead pack to cross the line just one second behind race winner and series leader Luis Salom (KTM). Miller spent the last few laps in the thick of the lead group of six riders and passed two of them on the final lap, but he didn’t quite have the speed to hold them off and so finished the race in sixth spot. It was another impressive display from the teenager who now travels to Phillip Island for his home race.
Jack Miller: “It was good, but a shame about the end, after I’d passed a couple of them on that last lap. It’s been good this weekend. We had the suspension dialled in great – after 18 laps in this heat the bike was still working well, so the team have done a fantastic job. We were sixth but we should be proud because we were only one second off the win – that’s our best-ever gap to the winner. And it’s great to get this result leading into Australia.”
1. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 40m 45.191s
2. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 40m 47.948s
3. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 40m 51.860s
4. Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 40m 55.542s
5. Alvaro Bautista ESP Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 41m 7.340s
6. Cal Crutchlow GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 41m 7.492s
7. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 41m 16.055s
8. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (GP13) 41m 30.302s
9. Aleix Espargaro ESP Power Electronics Aspar (ART CRT) 41m 44.455s
10. Yonny Hernandez COL Ignite Pramac Racing (GP13) 41m 46.608s
11. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 41m 48.856s
12. Randy De Puniet FRA Power Electronics Aspar (ART CRT) 41m 59.447s
13. Claudio Corti ITA NGM Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 42m 6.794s
14. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 42m 13.167s
15. Colin Edwards USA NGM Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 42m 14.633s
16. Danilo Petrucci ITA Came IodaRacing Project (Suter-BMW CRT)* 42m 14.742s
17. Luca Scassa ITA Cardion AB Motoracing (ART CRT) 42m 33.121s
18. Bryan Staring AUS Go&Fun Honda Gresini (FTR-Honda CRT) 42m 38.118s
Michael Laverty GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (ART CRT) DNF
Lukas Pesek CZE Came IodaRacing Project (Suter-BMW CRT)* DNF
Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Team (GP13) DNF
Damian Cudlin AUS Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART CRT)* DNF
Andrea Iannone ITA Energy T.I. Pramac Racing (GP13) DNF
* Standard ECU
1 Marc Marquez 298 pts SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
2 Jorge Lorenzo 255 pts SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
3 Dani Pedrosa 244 pts SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
4 Valentino Rossi 198 pts ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
5 Cal Crutchlow 166 pts GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
6 Alvaro Bautista 136 pts SPA HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
7 Stefan Bradl 135 pts GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
8 Andrea Dovizioso 120 pts ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
9 Nicky Hayden 102 pts USA DUCATI Ducati Team
10 Bradley Smith 89 pts GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
11 Aleix Espargaro 83 pts SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
12 Michele Pirro 50 pts ITA DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
13 Andrea Iannone 47 pts ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
14 Colin Edwards 32 pts USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
15 Hector Barbera 29 pts SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
16 Randy De Puniet 27 pts FRA SUZUKI Suzuki Test Team
17 Danilo Petrucci 23 pts ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
18 Yonny Hernandez 17 pts COL DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
19 Hiroshi Aoyama 13 pts JAP FTR Avintia Blusens
20 Claudio Corti 11 pts ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
21 Ben Spies 9 pts USA DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
22 Karel Abraham 5 pts CZE ART Cardion AB Motoracing
23 Alex De Angelis 5 pts RSM DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
24 Michael Laverty 3 pts GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
25 Bryan Staring 2 pts AUS FTR-HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
26 Javier Del Amor 1 pts SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
27 Martin Bauer 0 pts AUT S&B SUTER Remus Racing Team
28 Lukas Pesek 0 pts CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
29 Luca Scassa 0 pts ITA ART Cardion AB Motoracing
30 Ivan Silva 0 pts SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
31 Blake Young 0 pts USA APR CRT Attack Performance