Dani Pedrosa racked up a second win in three races with a superb display at the Malaysian MotoGP round, but the magnificence of his ride to victory from pole position was eclipsed by the controversy that surrounded an incident between Valentino Rossi and Marc Márquez.
Pedrosa – leading – and Jorge Lorenzo were clear of the duo, who were racing hard for third in a battle that continued the epic theatre enjoyed at Phillip Island just seven days earlier.
Things were heating up with Rossi and Márquez overtaking one another at an exciting rate, when a coming together that will be talked about for years to come occurred seven laps in. By this stage Rossi had already raised a hand to Márquez when in front of the Honda rider to try and signal to the Spaniard.
Márquez ran wide at Turn 14, and Rossi came up the inside, slowing down and purposefully looking across at Márquez. The pair touched, Márquez went down, and Rossi continued his race to cross the line third behind Pedrosa and Lorenzo.
Verbal shots had been fired on Thursday when Rossi accused Márquez of interfering with his race in Australia. The Italian also said he believed Márquez would prefer that Lorenzo – Rossi’s only remaining rival for the 2015 championship – win the title.
After much deliberation, Race Direction decided to penalise Rossi with three penalty points on his ‘license’, which in turn resulted in demotion to the back of the starting grid at the final round in Valencia. in two weeks’ time, a sanction that is being appealed by Yamaha.
It was a decision that divided opinion amongst the riders, media and fans, and which sent social media into meltdown. It also resulted in Rossi refusing to partake in the post-race press conference.
Rossi heads to the 18th and final race of the campaign with a seven-ponit advantage over Lorenzo – his championship points tally is unaffected by the Malaysian GP sanction – and a huge task on his hands from the back of the grid.
Race winner Pedrosa’s view on victory
“It was really tough physically, very hot and the track’s really demanding for the bike. The bike moved a lot so it was hard work. The whole weekend the pace has been good, and I’m really happy for the team to win the race.”
Lorenzo’s take on the race, and Rossi’s penalty
“I don’t remember a race hotter and more difficult than this, in a physical way. I was lucky to be very prepared, but on the bike with the engine so hot it was terrible. It was very difficult to finish the race. It was worth the effort, and we will see what happens in the investigation with Marc, I don’t know what happened but it looked big.”
Following the Race Direction result, and having had the chance to see race footage, Lorenzo was forthright in his opinion.
“I think it’s unfair, and I think because of his [Rossi] name he gets no penalisation this time. It’s unbelievable. I saw it and I couldn’t believe it. It has never entered in my head to do anything like this.”
Rossi’s evasive response to ‘the incident’
With Rossi leaving the circuit immediately after the Race Direction meeting, the only interview he conducted immediately after the race was in parc fermé, prior to knowing his penalty.
“Unfortunately I lost a lot of time with Marc, and on Turn 14 I tried to go a bit wide to take the better line and to make him slow, because he just arrived to cause me some problems. But unfortunately, I don’t know, he came to me and I think he crashed in that moment.”
Source: Red Bull Content Pool