October 25th, 2015
Results and summary of the Moto2 race at Sepang:
Results and summary of a tense Moto3 race at Sepang:
2015 Sepang MotoGP Saturday Round Up: The Mundane Reality Behind Mind Games, The Tow That Wasn't, And Some Title Mathematics
The atmosphere hangs heavy over the Sepang International Circuit, both literally and figuratively. The thick gray haze casts a pall over the circuit, dulling the light, restricting vision, cloying at the throats of everyone at the track, and in the region. There is another oppressive weight over the proceedings, this time of expectation. There is the pressure of a MotoGP title battle going down to the wire, and a Moto3 championship that should have been wrapped up two races ago, before a new rival emerged on the scene. Then there is the electric tension created by Valentino Rossi, when he decided to use the pre-event press conference to accuse Marc Márquez of helping Jorge Lorenzo at Phillip Island.
Since then, it has been impossible to view any action by either Rossi or Márquez with an objective eye. Rossi's accusations, Márquez' defense, and Lorenzo's entry into the arena color everything that happens, on and off the track. Coincidences disappear, otherwise common behavior is highlighted, and conspiracies, real and imagined, spiral wildly out of control. All eagerly egged on by MotoGP rights holder Dorna, the TV director picking up and highlighting each and every encounter between the protagonists. There have never been so many clips from practice, interviews and specials up on the MotoGP.com website, and TV broadcasters – especially in Spain and Italy – leap onto the bandwagon with their own speculation, interviews, stories and angles. And before anyone points an accusing finger at me, mea maxima culpa.
So when Marc Márquez came up on the back of Valentino Rossi as the Repsol Honda rider prepared to start his time attack in FP3 on new tires, to ensure passage to Q2, he slowed up, unwilling to give him a tow. Rossi, looking back and preparing for his own attack, saw Márquez behind him and slowed to let him down. The pair got slower and slower through the third sector of the track, going through it in over a minute, instead of the normal 38 seconds or so. It looked like a sur place, a standoff in track cycling where two cyclists come to a standstill with a couple of hundred meters to go, each waiting for the other to lead off the sprint. Mind games?
Press releases from the MotoGP teams, Bridgestone and Tissot after qualifying at Sepang:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying practice at Sepang:
Results and summary of Moto2 qualifying:
Results and summary of qualifying for MotoGP:
Dani Pedrosa was comfortably fastest in the final session of free practice for the MotoGP class, beating the rest of the field by nearly a third of a second. Marc Marquez took 2nd, the Hondas clearly working well at Sepang. Marquez and Rossi had yet another minor run in on track, Marquez finding himself behind Rossi, and Rossi getting upset and slowing up to force him to go past. They did not end up coasting for a quarter of a lap as they had in FP3, but there was clearly tension there.
Andrea Iannone set the 3rd fastest time, the Ducati man clearly revitalized by his result from Phillip Island, while Jorge Lorenzo ended the session in 4th, after suffering a small crash at the final corner halfway through the session, losing the front and sliding off into the gravel. Valentino Rossi finished the session in 5th, fractionally behind his Movistar Yamaha teammate.
Results and summary of Moto3 qualifying at Sepang:
Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez were fastest of the lot in FP3. There was a little bit of mind games on track between Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez, with Rossi going slowly trying not to let Marquez follow him, Marquez happy to sit on his tail.
Maverick Viñales will go to Q1, as though he set the 10th fastest time in FP3, Andrea Iannone had a faster time in FP2, so on combined times, Iannone is 8th overall, and Viñales 11th overall.