All through the week, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa had looked in great form. The Spaniard defied high track temperatures at the Sepang racing track in Malaysia by taking top podium finish ahead of Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo. But Pedrosa’s superb victory was overshadowed by an unseemly controversy involving a ferocious fight between Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez. The pair fought for third place behind Lorenzo and passed and re-passed each other multiple times. Rossi accused Marquez of trying to help compatriot Lorenzo win the world championship with the decider at Valencia is now the only contest left this season. The once cordial relationship between Rossi and Marquez had already soured this season following disagreements over incidents at Termas de Rio Hondo and Assen earlier. At Sepang, the bitterness escalated further during their clash, after which Marquez crashed and Rossi finished third behind Lorenzo. Going into Valencia, Rossi still has a slender 7-point lead over Lorenzo but because he was found guilty of sending Marquez off the track at Sepang, he would start from the back of the grid for the title decider in Spain.
In the qualifying earlier on Saturday, Dani Pedrosa was the dominant rider and finished ahead of his teammate Marc Marquez to make it 1-2 for the Repsol Honda team. The next two places were taken by Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo of Movistar Yamaha. In the final practice session, Pedrosa recorded the fastest lap in 1 minute 59.053 seconds that was 6/10th second faster than anyone else. It was also Pedrosa’s first pole since June 2014 at Barcelona. Cal Crutchlow was fifth ahead of Ducati duo of Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso. Maverick Vinales and Bradley Smith took eighth and ninth places ahead of Hector Barbera.
In the main event on Sunday, Pedrosa rode an almost flawless race. Having taken the pole in the qualifying, the Spaniard didn’t relent and raced his Repsol Honda from the start in the lead position. While Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo raced ahead of others, the big story was a huge clash in lap seven between Rossi and Marquez. The two champions fought with each other bitterly for a while and finally, Rossi sent Marquez crashing out of the race. Race Direction reviewed the incident after the event and slapped a three-grid penalty on Rossi for his deliberate and totally unacceptable action. The veteran Italian was unhappy with Marquez but he still has a chance to win the championship if finishes second at Valencia on November 8. 2015. The odds are, however, piled against him since he will have to start from the last position on the grid.
Coming back to the race on Sunday, Pedrosa maintained his lead over Lorenzo, who fell back to third for a while. However, Lorenzo worked his way to second pretty soon. Behind Pedrosa and Lorenzo, the battle for third place ensued between Rossi and Marquez,. The defending champion was experiencing grip problems on his Honda but he fought hard until Rossi aggressively sent him off the track for another crash this season. Rossi later said that Marquez was trying to keep him from winning the title to support his country-mate Lorenzo. While Marquez vehemently denied the allegation, the rift between Rossi and Marquez has taken an ugly turn now. Up front, Pedrosa came home with victory, when he crossed the line 3.6 seconds ahead of Lorenzo. Rossi was third and Britain’s Bradley Smith and Cal Crutchlow finished fourth and fifth. Danilo Petrucci took the sixth place ahead of Aleix Espargaro Vinales of Suzuki Stefan Bradl of Aprilla racing took the tenth place.
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