2015 Malaysian MotoGP: Dani wins the “hottest” race
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For the penultimate round of the MotoGP championship season, teams made their way to the Sepang International Circuit in Selangor, Malaysia. Touted as the race that could prove to be the turning point in the riders championship, the GP filled the circuit on race Sunday. 88,000 or so fans passed through the gates, and as predicted, the on track action was brilliant.
Dani Pedrosa took his Repsol Honda to P1 on the starting grid, while defending champion Marc Marquez slotted in P2. Championship leader Valentino Rossi pipped his teammate and main rival for the riders trophy, Jorge Lorenzo, for P3. Jorge had to settle for P4, and alongside him was Carl Crutchlow. Rounding up the 2nd row was Andrea Iannone on board the Ducati.
At the race start, it was Dani Pedrosa who led the pack through turn 1 and all followed the series of flowing corners around the circuit. Dani never looked back and was not challenged. It was a pole to flag victory for the Spaniard. This was win number two for Pedrosa in 2015, his 28th in the premier class and the 51st of his career.
The brilliance of Dani’s flawless ride was overshadowed by the tussle between Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi. In the early laps the two riders kept getting together. Some videos allegedly showed that Marquez tried to “nudge” Rossi to make him lose focus and possibly hinder him from catching Jorge Lorenzo. Another video showed that Marc leaned far too early for a corner to block a fight-back from Rossi. The fight culminated on lap 6. As the two riders, again side by side, entered turn 12, Rossi visibly slowed down, and after another “nudge” from behind by Marquez, the Yamaha Rider, probably all hot and bothered by Marc’s antics, reacted and jerked his left leg. This action was viewed by most fans as Vale kicking the Repsol Honda, causing the bike to fall.
Marc was immediately out of the race, but Rossi continued on and crossed the line behind Lorenzo and eventual winner Dani Pedrosa.
Race Direction postponed the post-race press conference to discuss with both riders their on-track altercation. While the closed door meeting was taking place, Jorge Lorenzo was reported to have barged his way into the meeting, demanding the disqualification of Rossi.
Race director Mike Webb, in a press conference, stated the reason for their decision of penalizing Rossi: “The decision is that Race Direction has imposed three penalty 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 penalty points on Rossi.”
An appeal was lodged immediately by the Movistar Yamaha team, and the merits of the appeal will once again be heard in a few days time.