Sepang MotoGP News

Nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi took his second win of the year at the Malaysia Grand Prix in Sepang Sunday, which was added to his win at the season opener. The win was also his 46th career win with Yamaha, equaling his bike number.

The Italian was in the spotlight, but most of the cheers went to his teammate, Jorge Lorenzo. The Spaniard clenched the 2010 World Championship four races early at Sepang, the title being his first in the premier class.

Lorenzo needed a ninth or better finish, and he took third. Taking second was Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso, which was his second consecutive podium finish.

There were three crashes: Ducati Team rider Casey Stoner, Rizla Suzuki rider Loris Caprorssi and Pramac Racing Ducati rider Aleix Espargaro went down, failing to finish. The other DNF went to Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Colin Edwards, who experienced difficulties with his M1.

Here’s what the riders were saying after the championship-awarding MotoGP race in Sepang.

Valentino Rossi says: “This is a wonderful moment for me, I am so happy to win like this and take my 46th win with Yamaha on ‘my’ M1. It was one of my worst starts and for a moment I was really worried, but within a few corners I understood that I could go for it, because my bike felt great today thanks to a small change we made in warm-up, Jeremy’s idea really worked! I rode so well and it was a fantastic race, one of the best of my career I think. I wanted this 46th win so much because as everyone knows it’s a special number for me!”

“Thanks to my team because everyone worked so hard this weekend and I think this is a great repayment for everyone. To win like this, from 11th at the first corner, is a great feeling. Finally I want to say congratulations to Yamaha and to Jorge; he has been fast all season, at all tracks and in all conditions and he deserves to be the World Champion.”

Jorge Lorenzo says: “This is a dream come true for me today, I can’t really believe it yet; I need five minutes on my own just to relax, enjoy the quiet and take in what I have done! This is something I have always wanted and something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, so it is the most incredible moment for me. It is difficult to find the words to thank everyone, I am just so happy, but I have to say thank you to Yamaha, my team and everyone who has made this happen.”

“I started very well today, I didn’t lose any positions but then Andrea and Valentino came past me and I wasn’t riding as well as I could have, so I didn’t want to push too much. Anyway I knew that winning the race wasn’t the most important thing this time. I had to just put myself on autopilot and get the points I needed. Now we can relax and enjoy the last three races of the championship, but first of all we are looking forward to celebrating tonight!”

Nicky Hayden says: “After qualifying and even warm-up this morning we were confident we could have a good race and put up a better fight than that. I got a decent start but I was struggling for feel under braking, I don’t know why. It has been a strong point for us all weekend but in the race I had no feeling from the front tire from the first corner and couldn’t brake how I wanted. It made life difficult, especially when it came to battling with other riders. Sixth isn’t a terrible result but we thought we could put up a stronger fight here. Now we have a couple of days to regroup and hopefully come back stronger at Phillip Island.”

Casey Stoner says:
 “I’m bitterly disappointed with this weekend. Going into that race we were confident of a good result. We knew we would be at the front challenging for the win and watching the race confirmed that. I know I had the pace to be up there. On the first lap I was calm, I made up some positions in the first two corners and when I got behind Dovizioso and Lorenzo I was happy to stay there and let the tires get up to temperature. Unfortunately I crashed because they weren’t warm enough but I don’t think I could have been more careful over those opening laps. I’m so disappointed that such a small thing can ruin an entire weekend.”

Andrea Dovizioso says: “I’m very happy with this second place today and it was a great race. We have been fighting for the victory at the last two races at two very different tracks, and also in different conditions, so this is really positive. I tried to stay close to Valentino on the last lap but in the final braking area I wasn’t close enough to take him in the middle of the corner, even though he was too late on the brakes and went wide. Anyway, this result for Honda, Repsol and my team is really important.”

“Last year we were 40 seconds behind the winner in the race here, so to be just 0.2s behind means we’ve moved forward a lot. Also, in the middle of the season, we weren’t on the podium for a long time, so to be back in the top three is very important for us. We have to be happy because this was almost a win, and the riders in front of me are changing at each race, which means we have better consistency. We are happy and I’d like to say thank you to Honda and my crew. From the middle of the season until now we improved a lot because of the hard work of a great team.”

Ben Spies says: “I got a reasonable start but I suffered with the left side of the rear tire not coming up to temperature as quick as I’d hoped. But once it did it worked great and I was able to fight my way through to another really strong result. I was behind Nicky for a while and got stuck there but once I got by him I was reeling off 2.02s to get into fourth and I was happy with my race pace. I knew I couldn’t get third and that was a little frustrating because looking at the times of the top three, if I could have got away with them I really feel I could have been there.”

“I know Lorenzo wasn’t pushing like his life depended on it with what he had at stake but I could have been closer to the front. It was still a good race for me and I made some good passes and I’m looking forward to Phillip Island now. Finally, I’d like to congratulate Jorge and Yamaha. Jorge has been fantastic all season and he definitely deserved to win the title. He hasn’t made a mistake and I’m really looking forward to working with him in 2011.”

Colin Edwards says: “That wasn’t an easy race at all. Right off the line I felt good and made a couple of passes but I understood from the start that I had small problem with the front brake. At one point I nearly ran into the back of Ben and that made it really difficult in all the hard braking points and there are plenty of those at this track. Once I adapted to that I was having some issues with the front tire.”

“I’d had a couple of moments over the weekend but after about four laps I was struggling to hold a line. I was still pushing hard because I was in a good fight when I crashed at turn four. I don’t know whether it was the brake or the tire or a combination of both that put me down but it was one of those where I was waiting for it go. I wasn’t going to give up, run wide and let a load of people fly by but just lost the front.”

“I went back out to try and score some points but unfortunately I was one lap short of being classified. I wasn’t going to get in the way of Valentino, Andrea and Jorge, so I got out of the way and that lap cost me a finish. Finally I’d like to congratulate Jorge and Yamaha. They’ve been an awesome combination. He’s been the fastest rider all year and he’ll be the man to beat next season that’s for sure.”

Mika Kallio says: “What a difficult race. I won three positions thanks to a good start, but I still finished the first round in the last position. On the third lap I was struggling with my teammate, who did have a better lap pace than mine. Together we repaired the gap from Barberà. On the fifteenth lap I passed Hector, but the shoulder pain and excessive heat did not allow me to maintain my position unchanged. With three laps to go I was overtaken by Barberà. I finished the race in twelfth place that is not a good position, but with my physical condition I could not hope to a better position.”

Aleix Espargarò says: “I’m very disappointed and sad about how things went, despite a quite good start, I managed not to lose positions. But in the early rounds my tires were not in temperature and I could not get a good lap pace. From the third round I have seen that the grip was still significantly increased.”

“My pace was good enough to try to overtake some positions, during the sixth lap, I first overtake Barberà and then my team-mate Mika Kallio. Just after passing him, in a corner change of direction, the bike slipped away. Fortunately, it didn’t turn off, but unfortunately the handlebar was broken. Too bad because with so many drops and withdrawals in the today’s race, I could gain a position among the top ten. The important thing is now to return to work in the best way to be ready for the next Australian Grand Prix that will take place next Sunday.”

Randy de Puniet says: “I am a bit disappointed because I thought I was capable of much more on this track but after 7 laps I had front-end issue again. Following our problems in yesterday qualifying we decided to race with the harder compound which affected the grip in the maximum angle and during the race I could not entry the corners as I like.”

“Honestly I could get a better result but did not want to take any risk and preferred to end 10th scoring some important points for the standing. I feel confident that the guys will find a solution to give me a better bike in Phillip Island”.

Álvaro Bautista says: “I am very happy with today’s result because I battled hard with other riders and made the result for myself. The start was not too bad, but on the second corner I had to pick up the bike because some other riders went inside me and I lost some positions. Lap-by-lap I started to overtake other riders and at half distance we caught up to Simoncelli and when I saw that Spies went past him and went away I knew I had to get past Marco and stay with him.”

“I got in a great battle with Simoncelli and I lost some time, and a position, but I had to recover and get past him and Aoyama. When I got into fifth, Spies was quite a way in front and it was difficult to catch him, but I did try and he could have made a mistake at any time that would have helped me get closer. We finished only 15 seconds behind first place and this shows we are improving, so this is very good. I want to say thank-you to all my team, Suzuki, Rizla and all the sponsors, because we are putting in a big effort and going forward together. The bike is now better than at the beginning of the year and I have improved so we are looking forward to the last races.”

Loris Capirossi says: “I really don’t know what to say today, I am just so disappointed. We don’t deserve the things that keep happening, but we’ll keep going and hope that our luck improves very soon.”

Marco Simoncelli says: “Obviously the result is a bit of a shame but I am happy because I came through from the back to have a really good first two third to the race. Unfortunately after that I physically couldn’t do any more. I was struggling to breathe, my vision was blurred and I really found it hard to make it to the end.”

“If we could have kept our pace to the end we could have finished fourth or fifth so like I said it is a shame but I am happy because this is a track I don’t particularly love, winter testing here was a disaster yet here we were today putting in a good performance, even chasing Dovizioso and Lorenzo over the first few laps. Now I’m looking forward to the next race because this was a positive weekend for us.”

Marco Melandri says: “What can I say? The result was a shame because compared to other races I got a good start here and my pace was decent. Unfortunately after just two laps I lost feeling for the front and every time I let go of the brakes I felt there was a risk I was going to crash.”

“I went wide at a couple of places because I couldn’t match the pace of the guys in front of me. I ran off track at one point but I got back on and caught De Puniet but it was tough to pass him. Once I managed it I kept my pace up whilst a few guys in front of me got tired. Physically I felt good so it was a shame because this could have been a good race for us.”