Motogp Malaysia: Wins Dovizioso ahead of Lorenzo and Zarco
Andrea Dovizioso is the strongest in Malaysia
Andrea Dovizioso has kept the fight for the 2017 MotoGP championship alive to the last round of the season, after taking a stunning victory from teammate Jorge Lorenzo at the Malaysian Grand Prix while championship leader Marc Marquez played it safe in wet conditions to come home fourth.
Coming after a dry start to the day at the Sepang International Circuit, a downpour before the race played into the Italian’s hands, allowing him to hunt down first Marquez and then Johann Zarco and Lorenzo, with a mistake form his teammate letting him through to take the win.
Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa came home behind him in fifth, a good result given the conditions, ahead of an impressive ride to sixth for Danilo Petrucci after a technical problem left him starting from back of the grid.
Valentino Rossi was the best of the factory Yamahas in seventh.
Rossi: “In the dry we could have been competitive”
The ‘Doctor’ and teammate Maverick Viñales debrief a difficult Malaysian GP
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP duo Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales had a more difficult Sunday at Sepang after the weather changed just ahead of the race, with the M1 a tougher prospect in the wet as they work on some issues that have plagued the squad this season.
“We were a bit unlucky with the weather,” said Rossi, “because I think in the dry we could have been competitive. We needed a good race because we arrived from a podium at Phillip Island and it’s good to try to stay at the top.” After topping FP3 in the dry and heading the second row of the grid, the race saw the rider from Tavullia only able to fight to seventh – finding most of the going tough: “Unfortunately today we were not strong enough on this bike in the wet, we had a lot of problems. I was struggling and slow for three quarters of the race. We need to understand it and try to improve.”
Marquez said he had learnt from his on-track battles with the Ducati rider this season.
He said: “The mentality of Dovi, it is something where I’ve learned many things from him. Because every rider, every opponent is different. With some weak points and some strong points.
“But Dovi was really quiet and was always doing his job.
“For example – of course in Australia he did a few mistakes – but he never went outside of ‘his style’. He kept his style, finished the race and did his 100%. It’s something that he’s been doing really good.”
It’s sure to be another exciting race, with the MotoGP championship up for grabs.
Marc Marquez admits there was no sense in him pushing to finish higher than fourth in MotoGP’s Malaysian Grand Prix, given his comfortable advantage in the championship.
Honda rider Marquez had the opportunity to seal a fourth premier class title with a round to spare at Sepang, but was unable to take the fight to championship rival Andrea Dovizioso in the wet conditions.
While Dovizioso beat Ducati team-mate Jorge Lorenzo to the win, Marquez finished off the podium in fourth behind Johann Zarco’s Tech3 Yamaha.
It means Marquez takes a 21-point lead to the season finale in Valencia, where an 11th place finish will be sufficient to take the crown.
“I started the race quite aggressive at the start, then I realise both Ducatis were faster than me,” said Marquez.
“I was catching Zarco, I was taking some risks, then I was thinking on the bike, ‘It’s more or less the same to arrive 24 points [ahead] or 21 in Valencia.’
“So I decided to stay in fourth position. Something that is so important in races is to be calm all the race, don’t be rash, try to find your rhythm.
“Maybe if I took more risks I could be champion here, but if I crash I could be only seven or eight points [ahead]. Better to take it step-by-step.”
Asked why he was unable to take the fight to the Ducatis, Marquez explained that a lack of confidence on braking and corner entry cost him dearly.
“The problem is one of my strongest points is braking points and entering corners, I was not strong like in other races,” he said.
“For some reason, I didn’t have the feeling. Already on Friday in wet conditions the feeling was not so good.
“They [Ducati] are always very good on acceleration side, we are very good on entry. But today we were missing on entry.”
ARRIVAL ORDER MALAYSIA MOTOGP
1. Dovizioso (Ducati)
2. Lorenzo (Ducati)
3. Zarco (Monster)
4. Marquez (Honda)
5. Pedrosa (Honda)
6. Petrucci (Pramac)
8. Miller (Marc VDS)
9. Viñales (Yamaha)
10. Espargaro (Red Bull)
11. Bautista (Suzuki)
12. Smith (Red Bull)
13. Redding (Pramac)
14. Iannone (Suzuki)
15. van der Mark (Yamaha)
16. Barbera (Avintia)
17. Crutchlow (Honda)
18. Rabat (Marc VDS)
1. Marquez 282
2. Dovizioso 261
3. Vinales 225
4. Rossi 197
5. Pedrosa 185