Photo by Gold & Goose
SEPANG, Malaysia (Oct. 13, 2013) -- Dani Pedrosa showed that when things are right for him he can be unstoppable. The Repsol Honda rider got away from an early battle with Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez to score a runaway victory in Sepang to help erase the disappointment of Aragon. It marked his third victory of the season for Pedrosa.
Meanwhile Marquez drew ever closer to the world championship after scoring second, this after one of the best battles of the season with Lorenzo in the first half of the race. Marquez now holds a 43-point lead over Lorenzo heading to Australia next weekend.
In spite of the dominating win Pedrosa still could not let go of the Aragon disappointment as comments in the post-race press conference revealed.
“It’s a great feeling to be back after the huge crash and to be able to win this race, which is also physically very hard,” Pedrosa said. “I had a not easy week, the last one. I couldn’t really (get) out of the bed. I came back strong and win this one for my fans and for my team. It’s a little bit of shame because I also I had a very strong pace in Aragon, which we could have won, but unfortunately I crashed.”
At the start of the race on the beautiful Malaysian circuit, Lorenzo came up from the second row and outdueled Pedrosa through the first set of turns to take the early lead. The two were side by side, but Lorenzo was braver on new tires. Marquez and Valentino Rossi battled for third early on with Marquez eventually solidifying the spot. Rossi actually had to deal with Alvaro Bautista for a turn or two in a hectic first couple of laps around Sepang.
Three riders jumped the start, including American Colin Edwards. They would have to serve a ride-through penalty.
Four laps in and it was a five-rider breakaway at the front with Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Marquez, Rossi and Bautista. Bautista fell off the group after making an error, running too deep into turn one.
On lap five things got very interesting. Pedrosa and Marquez both passed Lorenzo in rapid succession. But Lorenzo fought back and pushed his way back by Marquez for second. The two then swapped the position back and forth with some thrilling passes and repasses. Meanwhile Pedrosa took full advantage of the torrid battle behind him by putting a small gap on his rivals.
Andrea Iannone, Damian Cudlin and Nicky Hayden were early retirees with bike issues.
Things calmed down between Lorenzo and Marquez for a few laps, but on lap 10 Marquez finally made his move and got around the Yamaha ace and set off to chase down his Honda teammate who was nearly 1.6 seconds up the road.
As the top three spread out, attention turned to a good scrap between Cal Crutchlow and Bautista for fifth. Crutchlow seemed to be handling the turns better, but was obviously down on top speed to the Honda of Bautista.
In the middle stages Lukas Pesek went out with technical problems and Michael Laverty crashed out.
Up front a determined Pedrosa was simply immaculate. He steadily increased his lead throughout the second half of the race. The closing laps of the race were largely processional except for the continued battle between Bautista and Crutchlow, the Brit frustratingly losing out on every straight.
In the end Pedrosa’s margin of victory over Marquez was 2.757 seconds. Lorenzo was 6.6 seconds back from the leader. Rossi was a lonely fourth and then Bautista just holding off Crutchlow for fifth. Bradley Smith took seventh followed by Andrea Dovizioso. Aleix Espargaró earned top CRT rider in ninth and Yonny Hernandez rounded out the top 10.
Edwards made a strong charge after his ride-through and got into a points-paying position of 14th. He could not hold the spot and was passed by Barbera and Petrucci. On the final lap Edwards got back by Petrucci to score 15th and earn world championship points for the tenth time this season.
Next up is the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit this coming weekend.
Malaysian MotoGP – Sepang
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