MotoGP Race Interviews Sepang
Tropical, torrential rains hit the MotoGP Sepang Circuit half an hour before the scheduled start of the penultimate weekend of the 2009 MotoGP World Championship, which, up to that point, had been held in mostly sunny, humid conditions. The MotoGP race direction moved the start to 3:35 p.m., though the MotoGP riders had only their traditional sighting and warm-up laps to acclimatise themselves to the wet surface.
Casey Stoner Speaks… (1st)
"I didn’t get a brilliant start but I was happy to be in fourth as we came out of turn two and by the end of the first lap I was clear by a second. I have to be honest, I didn’t expect to be so far ahead so early in the race but when I looked up and saw 3 seconds on my pit board I decided to step the pace up even more and try an escape. I kept pulling out a second a lap and then eventually decided to back it off and not take any risks. This is another fantastic day for us and I want to thank everybody in the team for their effort. We’ve struggled with the bike in the wet this season but everybody has worked so well and the difference today was clear to see. We’re really strong now and I can only see us getting stronger from here, which is great news for next season. I want to congratulate Valentino because to win nine World Championships is an incredible achievement. I’m sure that if we continue to work like this ourselves we can put up a much stronger challenge next time."
Dani Pedrosa Speaks… (2nd)
"Riding in the rain has always been one of my weakest points and so for a long time I have tried to improve this by working hard and going over my limit in the wet. This hasn’t been an easy process, but now, finally, I achieved a podium in the wet, so I’m really happy and I want to thank all the people who have helped in this process. In the middle of the race Andrea was just behind and he was closing and was putting some pressure on me, but I was riding well and I was able to keep my focus and concentration. Finally when Andrea went off, another rider was coming and this time it was Valentino. He was going quite a lot faster than me, but in the last laps I kept my rhythm and was able to finish in second place. I’m very happy today. I also want to congratulate Valentino on the world championship; nine titles is amazing. Now we go to Valencia and we’ll be trying hard again there. It’s a track that I love and there will be a lot of fans too, so I’m looking forward to it."
Valentino Rossi Speaks… (3rd)
"It’s great to be World Champion again, I am very proud to have done this nine times in my career. I want to thank everyone in my team, Furusawa-san, Davide Brivio, Lin Jarvis, Jeremy…everybody! This season has been very hard and Lorenzo especially has pushed me to new limits, but I think it’s been a great duel for everyone to watch. Today was unbelievable, when the rain came it was scary for everyone because all the work we’d done was then useless and we were riding ‘blind’ with the setting. I made a mistake at the first corner and then I was a long way back, so I think I did a great race to finish third! I was going to try to pass Dovizioso when he fell and then for a few laps I thought I would try to get Pedrosa but with wet tyres on a drying track it was a bit risky by then and so I decided to be safe. It’s a fantastic feeling to take this title with Yamaha again and I also must thank Bridgestone, who have done a great job with the tyres all year. My celebration was because in Italy we say an old chicken makes good soup but can no longer lay eggs! I am like the old chicken – 30 years now – but I have made another egg! That’s nine!"
Jorge Lorenzo Speaks… (4th)
"I want to start by giving my congratulations to Valentino and all his team. He is the champion. As for the race, today was a difficult day. We improved in the warm-up and I was hoping to have a good race, but when it started to rain we had problems to turn on the bike. We had planned to ride two laps, but I didn’t have enough time and the pit-lane was closed. Then had to begin from last position, but I did one of my best ever starts! The first corner was incredible, but as time went on I began to have some grip problems, like during the whole weekend. However it was a great race for me in difficult circumstances and we finished fourth, not so bad. It’s been a great season and I could never have expected to be fighting with Valentino like this so early in my career. Now I just need one point in Valencia and I will have my goal of being the vice-champion."
Nicky Hayden Speaks… (5th)
"We’ll take a top five, that’ll work for us. I was quite excited when it started to rain because I’ve been on the pace with this bike in the wet this year and I felt I could do something special. Unfortunately I struggled a lot on the brakes in the beginning and a lot of guys came past. From there I had a lot of fun passing and fighting with people, trying to close down the gap to the lead group, but I was just missing a little bit to really go with Rossi and Lorenzo and try to fight for the podium. When Vermeulen came I knew he was a rain specialist so I pushed hard to make sure he didn’t see a crack in the door and think he could push it open. I’ve been fourth here five times so I’m only one spot off my mark! After Phillip Island it seems every time we try to get something going we have huge bad luck but I’m thankful I have a team who keep working and never give up – we’re trying to build something here together and we’re making progress. Even this weekend we were consistently up near the top. I have to say congratulations to Casey and Valentino. It wasn’t a terrible day for us either but now we go to Valencia and try to build on it again."
Chris Vermeulen Speaks… (6th)
"I got a good start, but in turn one there was a lot going on and I got pushed around a little bit, but I came out of it ok and was able to get my head down straight away. For the first four or five lap laps I really struggled to get a feeling in the tyres, especially on the left-hand-side, but once I got that working and in to a rhythm I felt quite good. The bike worked well up until the last few laps – when the track started to dry out – and then it was very difficult through the corners, but I’m sure it wasn’t easy for anyone out there. I think we had the speed for a top five today and my guys did a great job with the motorbike to be able to give me something competitive today when we hadn’t done any wet testing here at all."
Toni Elias Speaks… (7th)
"I saw the rain just before we were due to go out for the sighting lap and I thought ‘madre mía, this isn’t good for us!’ As it turned out it was completely the opposite and with seventh place and some bad results for my rivals we have actually made up more ground in the championship than we might have hoped to if it was dry. I’m really pleased with the result but also with the performance because riding in the wet is not usually our strong point. I don’t know if it was because the track temperature was higher here but I didn’t struggle as much as I expected for grip. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough to run with the top guys again but in general we have to be satisfied with this Grand Prix."
Loris Capirossi Speaks… (9th)
"I don’t really have a lot of things to say about today – I am just so disappointed! The team did such a good job this weekend and we thought we would have a good race this afternoon, especially after this morning’s warm-up was good as well, but then for the race it rained really hard. The set-up of the bike for the wet was pretty good but I struggled a lot for the first 10-laps because I couldn’t get any feeling from the left of the tyres. I dropped down to 13th and I then managed to overtake three or four riders and finish ninth. The result was not really good for this track and we weren’t lucky with the conditions, but sometimes things happen like that!"
Mika Kallio Speaks… (10th)
"I am disappointed on how the race went today. On the dry we could have conquered a much better result but with these conditions I didn’t have much confidence with the rear of the bike to accelerate as I wanted. Instead in the breaking the bike was really competitive. In Valencia and I want and I have to accomplish a much better race."
Aleix Espargarò Speaks… (11th)
"In the firsts five laps I couldn’t believe how slow I was going but I preferred to don’t take any risks to understand the reaction of the bike with these asphalt conditions. From the sixth lap I aimed at the group where there were Edwards, De Angelis, Kallio and Capirossi, and lap by lap I reached them making it to overtake the first two. A pity I didn’t start well otherwise I could have fought for better positions. I want to thanks the Pramac Racing Team for this weekend of work which allowed me to grow in preparation to the next season."
Alex De Angelis Speaks… (12th)
"I was so confident that I could have a strong race in the rain today but for whatever reason I never felt comfortable with the wet setting here and I couldn’t get going. The rear was spinning up everywhere and it was all I could to hang on and bring it home in the points. It’s a real shame because this could have been a good opportunity for us to make up more ground in the championship. It’s a missed chance but at the same time my rivals didn’t capitalise on it and we are still within three points of seventh place, which is my objective when we head for the final race at Valencia."
Colin Edwards Speaks… (13th)
"The weekend wasn’t great to be honest. The bike wasn’t fast in the dry for some reason and I just couldn’t get going all weekend. We tried a different setting this morning and it felt better, but it certainly wasn’t a miracle spark. But with the rain coming like it did it just made it a guessing game. I did two warm-up laps behind Valentino (Rossi) p to check the conditions and from that moment the front feeling wasn’t great. Even then I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get any weight on the front and that’s exactly what happened. I could carry the lean angle I wanted but the front wouldn’t load at all, so I couldn’t get the bike turned. When it was properly wet I felt like I was upping my pace and closing in on the group for tenth, but then the tyres started heating up and I was sideways all of the time. In the final laps I was losing a lot of time. I’m going to Valencia still fighting for fifth in the championship wi th (Andrea) Dovizioso) crashing, but I don’t like taking profit from the mistakes of other people. I just want to say congratulations to Yamaha and Valentino. He’s done another amazing job and nine world titles is just a phenomenal achievement."
Gabor Talmacsi Speaks… (14th)
"A good start, and then the every-race chaos at the first corners, and several people making several errors. The usual stuff. With all that water on the track, the first part of the race was difficult because of the poor grip. Lap by lap, the situation improved, and my pace was at the same level of the people competing for the tenth/eleventh position. But catching up was too much, as I was racing alone. I want to congratulate Valentino Rossi: nine times world champion. Great."
James Toseland Speaks… (15th)
"I wasn’t too sorry when I saw the rain to be honest because it had been a tough weekend in the dry. We went with the base wet setting but I had the same problem in the rain that I did in the dry. I just didn’t have any grip on the rear and in the wet the problem was on corner entry to the apex. So my corner speed was just way too slow to make a decent lap time. I am not out there just riding around at the back. I was doing my absolute best and trying my hardest but it was impossible for me to go any faster with the feeling I had. It has been a tough weekend but I’ll look to bounce back and finish stron gly in Valencia for my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3."
Randy De Puniet Speaks… (DNF)
"I am very disappointed for me and the team. We had found a good race set up yesterday and I qualified 8th in this morning warm up session. Then the rain storm changed the conditions completely but I was pretty confident as I usually lap with a good rhythm in the wet. I took a good start finishing the first lap in 5th position. Then in the second lap I lost the rear on turn 3 suffering a big highside. I really do not remember what happened but after having watched the accident on the TV, I feel lucky because I am ok!"
Andrea Dovizioso Speaks… (DNF)
"I was having a really good race and a podium would have been a really positive result for me and the team in our current situation, so of course I’m very disappointed about how it finished. Actually, I didn’t get off the line too well but in the braking zone into turn one and through the first two corners I was able to overtake many riders and climb up to fifth place. My first lap was very good and I was moving forward quickly. Once into third position, I was riding close to the limit and was closing on Dani and I definitely had my sights set on the podium finish. The Bridgestone wet tires were working well, though you always have to be careful because they are very soft. Then, during the 15th lap, the front turned more quickly than usual and it tucked. It’s a shame today, because I was feeling good on the machine and I really wanted this result for myself and the team. However, we’ll come back fighting for the final race of the year at Valencia."
The final race of the 2009 MotoGP racing season will be at the Grand Prix of Valencia on Nov. 8th, 2009.