Monday, 31 October 2016

Italian MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso is on cloud nine after winning a wet and wild Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix

Dovizioso wins wet and wild MotoGP race at Sepang

ALL MINE ... Andrea Dovizioso (left) hugging his trophy after winning the MotoGP race in the Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit. - GLENN GUAN / The Star

SEPANG: Italian MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso is on cloud nine after winning a wet and wild Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix race at the Sepang International Circuit.

Pole-sitter Dovizioso held firm in the lead group throughout the 19-lap race to cross the finish line in 42:27.333 – making him the ninth winner in the premier class this season.

The other eight riders to have stood on top of the MotoGP podium so far this year are fellow Italians Andrea Iannone and Valentino Rossi, Australian Jack Miller, Britain’s Cal Crutchlow and Spaniards Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez, Maverick Vinales and Dani Pedrosa.

The penultimate round of the MotoGP race was delayed due to a storm, but there were no regrets for the record-breaking 95,316 fans present at the track on Sunday.

There were plenty of spills as Crutchlow, winner of the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Phillip Island last Sunday, Iannone and then newly-crowned world champion Marquez all fell in the space of two laps – leaving Dovizioso in a direct duel with Rossi for victory.

But when Rossi ran wide on entry to the first corner on lap 15, it allowed Dovizioso to sweep into the lead.

Dovizioso seized the opportunity to build up a gap as he took control of the situation all the way to the chequered flag to give Ducati their first victory at Sepang since Casey Stoner in 2009.

Rossi finished the race in 42:30.448 to confirm the runner-up position behind Marquez (278pts) in the MotoGP’s overall standings with 236 points.

Lorenzo, the 2015 world champion and Rossi’s team-mate, came in third in 42:39.257.

Sunday’s win was only his second in the premier class, but the Italian felt that “it has been a long time coming”.

His first was back in 2009 – in the British Motorcycle Grand Prix at Donington Park.

“It was very, very difficult towards the finish. From the outside, it looks like I was controlling well, but it wasn’t easy,” said the 30-year-old Dovizioso, who won the 125cc world title in 2004.

“When conditions are like these, we have no control, so I didn’t think much.

“But I didn’t give up and I really wanted to win this. It’s a nice feeling and important to get this result for Ducati.

“I’m really happy to get victory this way. It looks like I ‘cooked’ the competition today, something which I can remember when my career is over.

Rossi admitted that he took too many risks in trying to win.

“My first target was to arrive in front of Jorge for the second place, but I wanted also try to win because I felt good with the bike from the beginning,” said Rossi, who last won in Sepang in 2010.

“But I had to fight a lot with Iannone ... and Iannone was fast. After, when I went in front, I was optimistic (of winning) but when the water on the track got less and the temperature got higher, I was a bit in trouble with the tyres, especially with the front.

“I risked too much. I did a mistake and, in that moment, Dovizioso was too fast and he went away.”

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