malaysian motogp 19-21 october 2012

Race report from Harry Lloyd (more on Harry)

The Sepang weekend off very sombre as all the paddock gathered to remember Marco Simoncelli who was tragically taken too early at the race last year. The Gresini team lead a gathering to unveil the plaque at the turn in which he crashed and the majority of paddock notables attended. After that tho everyone agreed the best way to remember Super Sic was to give him, and the 60,000+ fans a weekend of good solid racing, and all three classes delivered in magnificent style.

Pole Position sponsored rider Danny Webb had yet another tough weekend on his Mahindra machine as it struggles to produce top speed within ten km/h of the other bikes. His pre race weekend made more difficult as a crash late in qualifying meant that the promise and increased speed found with the bike would have to wait till race day to attempt to get from 25th into the points.

Meanwhile Brad Binder had one of his best qualifying sessions of the year despite engine problems in previous FP sessions. Brad qualified in 8th and ahead of team mate and Moto3 runner up Louis Salom. Just over 1.5 seconds from poleman and local favourite Zulfami Khairuddin Salom’s position as number two in Moto3 was confirmed when Maverick Vinales decided not to ride the Blusens Avintia bike, causing a major ruckus in the media centre.

Fresh off signing for RW Racing GP, the same team Brad and Salom currently race for, Jakob Kornfeil was able to qualify in 14th continuing to show his consistant form aboard the FTR-Honda bike. Next season Kornfeil will surely be a constant podium challenger next year with the very experienced team at RW.

Race day came and the Moto3 boys managed to avoid the rain, a delight for the crowd and the riders. To an even greater delight of the fans was the strong ride that Zulfami had, leading for much of the race as the fans cheered him on. His challenge for the win ended as series leader Sandro Cortese took over, wanting to cement his championship with a win. Sandro would go on to win, the race and the title, although a podium would have been sufficient. Sandro was obviously ecstatic at being the first Moto3 champion. Meanwhile Brad Binder had been having a strong race, battling it out with Aussie pair Arthur Sissis and Jack Miller and claiming 12th, once again returning to the points after a swathe of technical problems had ended some of his most promising races.  Unfortunately Danny and Jakob both had challenging races. Danny crashed out while hunting down other riders and Jakob finished just outside the points in 16th, just .07 behind Niccolo Antonelli in 15th.

Moto2 proved to be as exciting as ever, enhanced by the tricky wet conditions. Anthony West of the QMMF team of course showed off his suburb wet weather riding skills, blasting from 19th to 4 within just a couple laps. It came down to a last lap battle between Alex De Angelis, Anthony West and British favourite Gino Rea for the battle, with De Angelis just edging out Ant West as the red flag was wagged due to the torrential rain. Local wildcard Hafizh Syahrin also had a magnificent race, leading for several laps.

The rain remained for GP and played a major factor in the eventual outcome. The race got off to a start eventually after a delay to account for the poor weather. Pedrosa and Lorenzo bolted immediately, gaining half a second on the rest of the pack within just a few corners. Meanwhile the difference in tires began to show as the softer rain tires began to drop off, just as the rain again got heavier. This saw a swathe of crashes including Ben Spies, Cal Crutchlow, Stefan Bradl and Randy De Puniet. Spies fell especially hard, forcing him to fly home for a shoulder operation and thus causing him to miss the Australian GP yet again. Cal’s fall was also significant as it now makes the battle for 5th between him Bautista and Rossi even closer.

Then rain grew significantly worse with under ten laps to go and Lorenzo began to raise his hand, hoping for the race to be stopped. Meanwhile Stoner had found his rhythm and was rapidly gaining on Jorge just as Lorenzo had a massive moment going into the final bend, managing to just save it off his foot. The race was subsequently red flagged at 2/3rds race distance, usually calling for a restart but the IRTA officials and Race Direction decided that it was infact too dangerous to continue, much to the delight of many of the riders.

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