MotoGP: Dovi and Ducati become 9th winners of the season



Australian MotoGP™ winner Cal Crutchlow crashed out of the soaking Shell Grand Prix of Malaysia while fighting for a podium finish at the Sepang International circuit this afternoon. Despite crashing twice yesterday the LCR Honda rider was battling for a podium finish when he fell on the wet 3.444 miles circuit. Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes also crashed in the early stages of the Moto2™ race.

There was some better news in the MotoGP race where Eugene Laverty finished 12th, Bradley Smith 14th and Scott Redding 15th, all fought through the spray to finish with World Championship points. Danny Kent was not so lucky in the Moto2 race, finishing 18th.

#DoviOnCloud9: Dovizioso storms Sepang as 9th winner of 2016

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) took his second ever victory in the MotoGP™ class at the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, as he navigated the torrential conditions to emerge as the ninth winner of 2016: an all-time first for the MotoGP™ World Championship to write another chapter in the ever-changing history books. After dueling for the lead earlier in the race, Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) came home P2, with teammate Jorge Lorenzo completing the podium.

Lorenzo got the best start off the front row, with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) – up to second around Turn 1. With Rossi pushed down to P4, the front group of the Movistar Yamahas, Ducati Team and Marquez were joined in the fight at the front by Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro – before the Spaniard then slid out at Turn 1.

Rossi fought his way back into the lead before Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) struck to take P1 – despite still recovering from a cracked vertebra from a crash in Misano. Teammate Dovizioso was holding off Marquez in third, with Jorge Lorenzo stalked by Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) just behind.

A duel broke out at the front between Rossi and Iannone, before a Turn 15 move saw Iannone take back the lead and power out of the corner ahead – using the speed of the Desmosedici GP16 on the main straight.

Dovizioso and Marquez were far from out of the fight, gaining on the Italian duo in the lead. Lorenzo was the rider finding himself out of podium contention as he fell down to sixth, moving back into the top five as Phillip Island winner Crutchlow then fell.

Two more high profile crashes then rocked the front group, as reigning World Champion Marquez lost his Honda at Turn 11 and slid out – rejoining in the points but out of contention for the victory – followed by Andrea Iannone at Turn 9, who was unable to rejoin but walked away unscathed.

Dovizioso vs Rossi: Italy vs Italy: Yamaha vs Ducati became the duel at the front – and Rossi was beginning to suffer with the front tyre. With a handful of laps remaining, the rider from Tavullia ran wide at Turn 1 and left his compatriot able to get through.

Keeping it calm and on the road, the number four Ducati crossed the line an incredible margin clear by the penultimate lap, before letting that advantage eke away on his way to the flag – keeping everything minimal risk. Rossi kept his YZR M1 upright in second, as Lorenzo took a solid result to complete the podium.

Dovizioso’s spectacular win, as well as marking the ninth different victor of the year, is his second premier class victory – the first being Donington Park in 2009 – and the second win this season for the Borgo Panigale factory, after a long drought since 2010.

Loris Baz and Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) were the unsung heroes further back on track as the drama ahead stole the spotlight, with Baz showing incredible wet weather pace once again, into fourth with five laps to go. Barbera then overtook his teammate, with the two crossing the line to complete the top five.

Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) had an uncharacteristically quiet race as the Silverstone winner struggled slightly in the wet conditions, nevertheless taking a solid P6. Alvaro Bautista shone for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini once again in Malaysia with a well-deserved seventh place, ahead of Assen winner Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS), Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich), who completed the top ten.

World Champion Marc Marquez – despite his crash – crossed the line eleventh to retain Phillip Island as his only DNF in a stunning year on his scorecard.

The paddock now return to Valencia and home turf for Marquez, as he prepares to ride at home for the first time since taking his third premier class crown – but the one remaining race now begs the question:

Can there be a tenth?

The return of the King: Zarco reigns to retain his crown

The skies opened ahead of Moto2™ lining up on the grid in Malaysia, with Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) with his first chance at the Championship from pole position; the Frenchman played his hand perfectly to take an unbelievable win, in front of impressive podium finishes for Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) and Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP). With Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) finishing in P6 and Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP40) outside the top ten, Zarco took the crown in stunning style.

Folger got the holeshot as the spray kicked up off the start line, with Morbidelli thensoon taking him back as polesitter Zarco slotted into third. Title rival Tom Luthi moved from P5 to P8 in the opening stages, with third Championship challenger Alex Rins moving up ten places from 23rd on the grid to 13th in an impressive early gain.

An early crash saw some drama, as Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) slid out followed by Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) at the same corner.

The front trio of Morbidelli, Zarco and Folger were locked in a game of chess at the front, before Zarco pounced for the lead with 6 laps to go – and disappeared into the distance.

Another win, after another pole, and another intermediate class crown – the first man to defend the Moto2™ title since its introduction in 2010.

Baldassarri came home in a lonely fourth, with home hero Hafizh Syahrin getting a good pay off for his battles throughout the race as he completed the top five.

Tom Luthi finished the race in P6 after finding some more pace later in the race, with Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) then crossing the line in seventh.

Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) came home in P8. Luca Marini (Forward Racing Team) split the Tech 3 Racing Team in P9, with the second Tech 3 of Isaac Viñales completing the top ten as all three took some serious scalps on their way to big points hauls.

Wildcard Ramdan Rosli (Petronas AHM Malaysia) had a stunning ride at his home GP, as he came home in twelfth and ahead of some usual Moto2™ frontrunners.

Bagnaia home free as chaos rocks Moto3™

Francesco Bagnaia (Pull&Bear Aspar Mahindra) took his second ever career win at Sepang International Circuit, as he escaped at the front ahead of a demolition derby – with Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team) taking second for an amazing home result for the SIC team, ahead of Dutchman Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo).

The drama began early with the first incident on lap one at Turn 2 seeing Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) making contact with RBA Racing’s Juanfran Guevara to take both out of the race.

There was then a crash at Turn 6 on Lap 1, as Jorge Martin (Pull&Bear Aspar Mahindra) caused a domino effect crash through the racing line on the corner, with Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46), Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Philipp Oettl (Schedl Racing GP) caught up in the incident.

The next drama was at Turn 7 – after local hero Adam Norrodin (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team) also fell at the corner – when World Champion Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Joan Mir (Leopard Racing), Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Sky Racing Team) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto3) all slid out in unbelievable unison – leaving Bagnaia free at the front to build an lead of over three seconds.

Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) then crashed, and Turn 9 then claimed two casualties as Ongetta-Rivacold teammates Niccolo Antonelli and Jules Danilo crashed out in almost simultaneous incidents – but Antonelli was able to remount and remain in the points.

At the front, Bagnaia was building his lead over four seconds with 12 laps to go, with Jakub Kornfeil, Bo Bendsneyder and RBA Racing’s Gabriel Rodrigo next on track in the second group. Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing) found himself in space on the chase.

A crash for Maria Herrera at Turn 15 in an incident with Livio Loi then prefaced a Red Flag, and with over two thirds of race distance completed, the results would stand – with the positions determined by standings on Lap 13 as the last full lap completed.

Bagnaia therefore took his second career victory, with Kornfeil taking P2 by virtue of his position on Lap 13, and rookie Bo Bendsneyder completing the podium.

Quartararo was fourth, with teammate Locatelli completing the top five. Marcos Ramirez took another fantastic haul of points in sixth, with Rodrigo, home hero Pawi and Loi in P7, P8 and P9 respectively. Darryn Binder was tenth in another impressive ride after his P4 in Australia, completing a double top ten for the Platinum Bay Real Estate team.