Relentless Pedrosa Continues Winning Streak At Sepang

Dani Pedrosa took another five points out of Jorge Lorenzo’s championship lead with another superb victory in Malaysia, his third in succession. The Repsol Honda rider had never won in the wet before but proved too strong for Lorenzo yet again, reducing his rival’s lead to 23 points heading into the final two races.

Despite the heavy rain before the start, the race took on a very similar appearance with Lorenzo and Pedrosa romping into the distance. Not even Casey Stoner could keep pace with them early on as the world champion led the rest of the prototype pack. The two Tech 3 Yamahas had made a mess of the start but some aggressive overtaking lifted Andrea Dovizioso back up to fourth ahead of Valentino Rossi.

For Lorenzo, the race was following an ominous pattern with Pedrosa shadowing him, seemingly able to overtake whenever he saw fit. The moment of choice came on lap ten with the Honda clearly stronger on the brakes approaching turn fifteen. Dani took full advantage to grab the lead and as he had in Aragon and Motegi, quickly disappeared into the distance.

Lorenzo wasn’t able to enjoy the luxury of a safe ride to second this time though as his softer wet tyres didn’t seem to be offering as much grip as those around him. Third placed Casey Stoner was looking particularly threatening as he took half a second per lap out of the Yamaha but others were having an afternoon to forget.

Ben Spies was the first to lose control, sliding out at turn seven on lap nine, and his error was replicated by Ivan Silva as the rain intensified. The heavier rain also caught out Dovizioso as fourth place disappeared at the same corner while teammate Cal Crutchlow hit the floor at turn fifteen a lap after Andrea. To further illustrate the deteriorating conditions, Randy de Puniet sent his Aspar ART cartwheeling through the same gravel trap Cal was trudging away from.

As the race ticked over two-thirds distance, Lorenzo became increasingly agitated and began gesturing for the race to be stopped. It was no surprise given the situation behind as Stoner had reduced a seven second deficit to 1.5 in the space of seven laps. The final straw came at the end of lap fourteen when the Yamaha lost control under braking for the final hairpin. Jorge miraculously held on but race direction had seen enough and with conditions bordering on impossible, the red flags were thrown.

Despite an initial plan to run a seven lap dash, a result was declared with no end to the monsoon in sight, making Pedrosa the winner with Lorenzo fortunate to hang onto second ahead of Stoner. The Ducatis of Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi stayed upright to take fourth and fifth with Alvaro Bautista sixth while Hector Barbera grabbed seventh ahead of CRT winner Aleix Espargaro.

James Ellison was a superb ninth, beating Karel Abraham’s satellite Ducati with Danilo Petrucci, Michele Pirro and a disappointed Dovizioso the only other riders to finish.