MotoGP No Spoiler Alert – 2015 Sepang MotoGP Results, Malaysian Grand Prix Recap
Following the outcome of the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit, leagues of Valentino Rossi fans are likely angry. Not because of Rossi’s finish, but due to a penalty that will surely affect the outcome of the 2015 MotoGP Championship.
Ahead of the penultimate round of 2015 MotoGP at Sepang, Rossi reported having some issues with Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and the only other title contender, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammate Jorge Lorenzo.
Rossi claimed that the two-time reigning MotoGP Champion Marquez played games last week during the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island. Rossi says that Marquez had intentionally slowed down while Lorenzo was out front. After slowing, Marquez then battled with Rossi, the nine-time World Champion claims.
For fans, there’s no questioning that Phillip Island was the most exciting race of the year – there were 52 changes in positions between the top-four riders alone (Rossi, Lorenzo, Marquez and eventual winner, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa). But for Rossi, this presented some issues.
The alleged troubles seemed to escalate the issue during Free Practice at Sepang, Rossi claiming Marquez shadowed him throughout FP3. But things seriously escalated during the race when Rossi and Marquez scrapped for three laps, swapping third place over 10 times.
The racing was reminiscent of the Rossi/Max Biaggi duels, Rossi and Marquez touching numerous times. Following a few close calls, Rossi clearly displayed his anger by throwing his left hand up or starring down Marquez. But it was on lap six at turn 14 when this battled ended. While in third, Rossi ran a wider line at turn 14, which caused some contact between him and Marquez.
Following the contact, the 22-year-old Spaniard crashed. The situation was immediately flagged for review by Race Direction, and Rossi was later assigned three Penalty Points. As a result, Rossi will have to start the final round at Valencia from the back of the grid.
Meanwhile, Pedrosa remained out front in Sepang, earning a flag-to-flag victory from pole. Lorenzo finished second, and Rossi third, which diminished Rossi’s points lead.
Lorenzo now trails Rossi by seven points going into the final round at Valencia in two weeks. On a sour note, Rossi has accumulated four Penalty Points so far this season (three in Sepang, one at Misano for “slowing” Lorenzo during qualifying). If a rider accumulates four points, he must start from the last position on the grid at the next round, which for 2015 MotoGP is the finale at Valencia.
Rossi expressed his anger following 2015 Sepang MotoGP, saying Marquez played a “dirty game.” He now has some serious work ahead to claim a 10th World Title.
Valentino Rossi says: “Marquez knows it wasn’t red mist that caused the incident. It‘s very clear from the helicopter footage that I didn’t want to make him crash, I just wanted to make him lose time, go outside of the line and slow down, because he was playing his dirty game, even worse than in Australia. When I went wide and slowed down to nearly a stop, I looked at him as if to say ‘what are you doing’?
“After that we touched. He touched with his right underarm on my leg and my foot slipped off the foot peg. If you look at the image from the helicopter it‘s clear that when my foot slipped of the foot peg, Marquez had already crashed. I didn’t want to kick him, especially because, if you give a kick to a MotoGP bike, it won’t crash, it’s very heavy. For me the sanction is not fair, because Marquez won his fight. His program is OK because he is making me lose the championship.
“The sanction is not good, especially for me, because I didn’t purposefully want to make him crash, I just reacted to his behavior, but I didn’t kick him. You can’t say anything in the press conference, maybe it changes something, but to me this was not fair, because I just want to fight for the championship with Jorge and let the better man win, but like this that’s not happening. Like I said, I didn’t want to make Marquez crash, but I had to do something because at that moment Jorge was already gone. The championship is not over yet, but this sanction cut me off by the legs and made Marquez win.”
MotoGP Race Director Mike Webb also commented: “The decision is that Race Direction has imposed three penalties points on Valentino Rossi for irresponsible riding that is deliberately causing contact. Deliberately running wide in a corner in order to try and force another rider off line. The result was a crash and so it’s irresponsible riding causing a crash and for that we have imposed three penalties points on Rossi.
It looked like we were going to have a great race, but unfortunately it ended in an incident that’s controversial. I have to say that the Movistar Yamaha team have appealed against Race Direction’s decision, so now that appeal will be heard by FIM stewards.”
2015 Sepang MotoGP Results Recap
Starting from pole of the 20-lap race, Pedrosa got out front first, followed by Marquez, Rossi, and the Ducati Team duo of Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone. Lorenzo, starting from fourth on the grid, got stuck behind the Ducati GP15s, but was quickly into fourth behind Rossi.
On turn one of the second lap, Lorenzo made a daring pass on Rossi for third, the two nearly touching. Behind while in sixth, Iannone had some mechanical issues and was forced to retire.
On the third lap, Marquez ran a bit wide, which allowed Lorenzo into second. Now the battle for third was between Marquez and Rossi, the two immediately riding very aggressively. The two swapped positions more than 10 times, both nearly crashing.
This battle ended drastically on lap six, though, when Rossi ran wide and bumped Marquez at turn 14. This sent Marquez sailing into the gravel trap. Marquez would remount, but only to ride back into the pits and suffer his sixth DNF this season due to crashes. This allowed Rossi to finish third with no further challenges. Up front, Pedrosa led all 20 laps of the race to earn the win. Pedrosa finished 3.612 seconds ahead of Lorenzo. As for Rossi, he finished third, 13.724.
Ducati’s Dovizioso was battling for fourth, but crashed out on lap 10. This allowed Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith into fourth, where he remained until the checkered flag. As for Ducati, both factory GP15 pilots failed to finish.
LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow battled with Smith, but had to settle for sixth. Octo Pramac Racing Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci’s finished seventh, ahead of the Suzuki Team Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales, respectively. Rounding out the top 10 were Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Stefan Bradl.
As for Nicky Hayden, the sole American in all of Grand Prix racing who joins Ten Kate Honda in 2016 World Superbike, the Aspar Honda pilot finished 16th, over a minute behind Pedrosa.
2015 Sepang MotoGP Results – The Scenario Ahead
The 2015 MotoGP Championship now breaks for two weeks ahead of Valencia, where the Rossi/Lorenzo battle will conclude. Rossi now has 312 points, holding a slim seven-point lead over Lorenzo, and Rossi must start from last on the grid in Spain.
This can provide Lorenzo with an easy third title if he rides smartly at Valencia. A few scenarios have to play out for Rossi to earn the title:
If Lorenzo wins, Rossi must finish second to win the championship.
If Lorenzo finishes second, Rossi must finish third or better to win the championship.
If Lorenzo finishes third, Rossi must finish sixth or better to win the championship.
On to Valencia…
2015 Sepang MotoGP Results:
|1||Dani Pedrosa||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||40’37.691|
|2||Jorge Lorenzo||SPA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||+ 3.612|
|3||Valentino Rossi||ITA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||+ 13.724|
|4||Bradley Smith||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech3||+ 23.995|
|5||Cal Crutchlow||GBR||CWM LCR Honda||+ 28.721|
|6||Danilo Petrucci||ITA||Octo Pramac Racing||+ 36.372|
|7||Aleix Espargarò||SPA||Team Suzuki Ecstar||+ 39.290|
|8||Maverick Viñales||SPA||Team Suzuki Ecstar||+ 39.436|
|9||Pol Espargarò||SPA||Monster Yamaha Tech3||+ 42.462|
|10||Stefan Bradl||GER||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+ 44.601|
|11||Scott Redding||GBR||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||+ 47.690|
|12||Yonny Hernandez||COL||Octo Pramac Racing||+ 52.112|
|13||Hector Barbera||SPA||Avintia Racing||+ 52.360|
|14||Toni Elias||SPA||Forward Racing||+ 53.619|
|15||Alvaro Bautista||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+ 53.631|
|16||Nicky Hayden||USA||Aspar MotoGP Team||+ 1’01.431|
|17||Jack Miller||AUS||CWM LCR Honda||+ 1’02.828|
|18||Mike Di Meglio||FRA||Avintia Racing||+ 1’05.075|
|19||Eugene Laverty||IRL||Aspar MotoGP Team||+ 1’09.877|
|20||Anthony West||AUS||AB Motoracing||+ 1’24.749|
|21||Andrea Dovizioso||ITA||Ducati Team||Not classified (10 laps)|
|22||Marc Marquez||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Not classified (13 laps)|
|23||Loris Baz||FRA||Forward Racing||Not classified (18 laps)|
|24||Andrea Iannone||ITA||Ducati Team||Not classified (19 laps)|
|25||Damian Cudlin||AUS||E-Motion IodaRacing Team||Not starting|
2015 MotoGP Point Standings (after 17 of 18 rounds):
|1||Valentino Rossi||ITA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||312 (lacking three-point penalty)|
|2||Jorge Lorenzo||SPA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||305|
|3||Marc Marquez||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||222|
|4||Dani Pedrosa||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||190|
|5||Andrea Iannone||ITA||Ducati Team||188|
|6||Bradley Smith||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech3||171|
|7||Andrea Dovizioso||ITA||Ducati Team||153|
|8||Cal Crutchlow||GBR||CWM LCR Honda||118|
|9||Danilo Petrucci||ITA||Octo Pramac Racing||107|
|10||Pol Espargarò||SPA||Monster Yamaha Tech3||103|
|11||Aleix Espargarò||SPA||Team Suzuki Ecstar||97|
|12||Maverick Viñales||SPA||Team Suzuki Ecstar||92|
|13||Scott Redding||GBR||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||83|
|14||Yonny Hernandez||COL||Octo Pramac Racing||53|
|15||Hector Barbera||SPA||Avintia Racing||33|
|16||Alvaro Bautista||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||29|
|17||Loris Baz||FRA||Forward Racing||28|
|18||Jack Miller||AUS||CWM LCR Honda||17|
|19||Stefan Bradl||GER||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||17|
|20||Nicky Hayden||USA||Aspar MotoGP Team||16|
|21||Eugene Laverty||IRL||Aspar MotoGP Team||9|
|22||Mike Di Meglio||FRA||Avintia Racing||8|
|23||Hiroshi Aoyama||JPN||Repsol Honda Team||5|
|24||Toni Elias||SPA||Forward Racing||2|
|25||Alex De Angelis||RSM||E-Motion IodaRacing Team||2|