Monday, October 20, 2008

MotoGP: Rossi Stars at Sepang

Valentino Rossi won his ninth MotoGP race of the season at Sepang, Malaysia. Dani Pedrosa was second, while Andrea Dovizioso finished third for his debut visit to the MotoGP podium.

The qualifying session had been an amazing spectacle, with the track starting out wet but becoming fully dry by the final few minutes. This resulted in a mad dash for pole position in the last moments of the session, with Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa snatching top spot ahead of FIAT Yamaha team-mates Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo. Casey Stoner could only manage seventh position on the grid after failing to exit the pits in time for his last run.

Pedrosa made his usual rocketship start to the race, pulling out several bike lengths by the end of the start/finish straight. Scot Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso battled through to second place by the time the field had passed through the first right-left complex, just ahead of Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden on the second Repsol Honda, and Casey Stoner on the Ducati. Rossi was immediately all over the back of Dovizioso's silver bike, but the younger Italian was in the mood for a good result. The Doctor passed his countryman in the final hairpin, but ran wide, and Dovi grabbed the place back. However, Rossi's Yamaha eased past the underpowered satellite Honda machine down the start/finish straight to take second place and set off after Pedrosa's quicker factory Honda.

Casey Stoner was now battling to overtake Nicky Hayden for fourth place. The Kentucky Kid was already sliding his Repsol Honda, but Stoner was unable to use the Ducati's top speed to pass the American. The Australian soon to be ex-champion was not looking like his usual self, and had admitted that he had not found a good setup for his Bologna Bullet.

Englishman James Toseland only lasted four laps before lowsiding out of the race unhurt, blaming a hard compound tyre which he was struggling to bring up to temperature. Alice Ducati rider Toni Elias was given a jump start penalty.

At the front, Pedrosa was not breaking away from Rossi. The miniature matador's lightly loaded Honda was firing out of the corners and leaping onto the straights, but Rossi's tightly turning Yamaha was clearly faster through the swooping corners at the back of the Sepang track. The eight-times world champion was trying very hard, as evidenced by his left foot flapping in the breeze under heavy braking, the usual sign that Rossi is in a determined mood...

Read the rest of my report on the Sepang round of MotoGP at Motorbikesport.


Rob J Jones said...

"...miniature matador's lightly loaded Honda...". Love it Jimmy. Dani's got the hang of the Bridgestones now, just in time for the end of the season.

Jimmy said...

Yep, and he wasn't too shabby at Valencia last time either.