2019 Sepang MotoGP Race Result: Smooth Sailing And Quick Rebounds

Fireworks were on the set list following on from the theatricals in qualifying and the sky was clear and ready for the show. By the end of lap two it already seemed like it wasn’t going to be the fiercest of battles, Maverick Viñales making a decent start for a change and taking a comfortable win. The Spaniard took his and Yamaha’s second victory of the season in the melting heat of Sepang, while the rest of the podium boys did most of the work on lap one. That work was pretty magical through, Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso turning a fourth row start into a podium almost instantly. Fresh off the euphoria of another title celebration, Marquez crossed the line second but the closest he got to Viñales was on the victory lap, when the victor gave the world champion a boost after running out of fuel. Just like practice predicted, the Yamaha man was one step ahead on pace but that did not stop Marquez from claiming the highest points total in a season – a record stolen from his current teammate. Dovizioso was tasked with fending off a resurgent Valentino Rossi all throughout the race and did so impeccably to climb onto the final podium spot.

The spotlight was firmly on Jack Miller at the start of the race, the Pramac rider making a lightning start to lead the way from Viñales and Franco Morbidelli, while Dovizioso and Marquez bolted off the line and were already ahead of poleman Fabio Quartararo by turn four. Viñales found the inside line on Miller in turn 11 to take the lead but was already getting Phillip Island flashbacks with Marquez his tail by lap two. However, the Honda man had trouble from the Ducatis of Miller and Dovizioso, the Australian reclaiming second soon after, with Rossi and Alex Rins still closely in the mix. Meanwhile, Morbidelli and Quartararo were losing ground alarmingly, the Petronas duo seventh and eighth by the end of the second lap.

Viñales was trying to replicate a familiar plotline and stretch a gap at the front, with some help from Miller who was holding up Marquez, and the Yamaha was over a second ahead by lap three. Marquez eventually picked up the chase at turn 14 and toughed it out on the straights, not allowing the Ducati to use its superior speed to fight back. Miller was soon pushed back at turn four by Dovizioso and a provisional podium of old was in the books. Also part of the chasing group were Rossi, Rins and Morbidelli, while Quartararo was struggling to keep up, seven tenths back.

Marquez was left with a one and a half seconds gap to make up on his Yamaha rival while another second ahead of Dovizioso but the lead trio were pretty closely matched on pace for the first few laps so the gaps were not coming down. Meanwhile, Rossi and Miller provided the entertainment in their exchanges for fourth. Once the veteran settled that battle, Miller came under fire from Rins and it was almost literal, the Spaniard barging into the Australian at the final turn and losing a wing in the process. Already unhappy with Rins for nearly running him off track in qualifying, Miller was not keen to let his rival past and defended admirably until lap nine.

Lap ten saw Viñales maintain his advantage in front of Marquez but Dovizioso had lost significant ground and was getting harassed by Rossi. However, the Italian had a hard time coping with the Ducati in the stretched out bits of the track and could not prepare a real attack. Two seconds back, Rins was showing the way to Morbidelli, Miller and Quartararo, while Johann Zarco was admirably holding onto ninth ahead of Danilo Petrucci and Cal Crutchlow. Meanwhile, Joan Mir was preparing to cause trouble for the British rider.

The final ten laps started with Marquez trailing Top Gun by almost two seconds and the gap continued to grow little by little. Rossi finally gave it a go on Dovizioso with eight laps left but it was only brief and the Yamaha man did well to just hang onto the Ducati given the difference in top speed. Rins was pushing hard to catch up with the Italians and bring down the one second gap to the podium battle, dropping the Petronas duo. Quartararo was nowhere near his pace from practice and made no progress from eighth place until Miller started shedding bodywork and positions. Miller and Zarco had some fun next, while Mir pounced on Petrucci and Crutchlow crashed out. Teammate Zarco was on route to saving the day for LCR with an excellent top ten but got a less than gentle nudge from Mir and crashed out with three laps remaining. Mir got rightly punished with a long lap penalty and dropped back behind Petrucci as a result.

The final three laps were the decisive time for the final podium place, Rins having caught up with Dovizioso and Rossi and planning an attack but the Ducati had it covered to the checkered flag. Vinales and Marquez were long gone and celebrating by the time the Italian got to breathe a sigh of relief in third. Rossi missed out on the podium but still got his most encouraging result in quite a while, holding off Rins for fourth. Morbidelli finished ahead of teammate Quartararo, with Miller, Petrucci and Mir rounding out the top ten.

Viñales’ victory puts him in prime position for third in the riders' championship but only seven points ahead of Rins. The teams’ title also rumbles on to Valencia, Repsol Honda/Marquez only two points behind Ducati.

Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 12 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 40'14.632
2 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda +3.059
3 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +5.611
4 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +5.965
5 42 Alex RINS Suzuki +6.350
6 21 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha +9.993
7 20 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha +12.864
8 43 Jack MILLER Ducati +17.252
9 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +19.773
10 36 Joan MIR Suzuki +22.854
11 44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM +24.821
12 63 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati +30.251
13 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia +30.447
14 99 Jorge LORENZO Honda +34.215
15 82 Mika KALLIO KTM +34.461
16 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN KTM +44.319
17 17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati +47.343
    Not Classified    
  5 Johann ZARCO Honda 4 Laps
  35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 6 Laps
  29 Andrea IANNONE Aprilia 9 Laps
Round Number: 
18
2019
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Total votes: 28

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Comments

Vinales got it all right this time. So did Marc and Dovi given their grid slots. Further adrift, KTM and Aprilia are, well, further adrift. No doubt, disappointment from Yamaha Petronas team in Malaysia. KTM need a miracle rider or bike as do Aprilia come 2020. Zarco seems to have clicked with the Honda rather quickly in spite of the DNF. Petrux' win back then in Mugello surely has left Ducati in a quandry since then. I'm sure some in that camp would prefer Miller alongside Dovi next year. On the other hand Petrux is still right up there in the championship which is all done and dusted anyway for Marc and Dovi 3 years in a row.

Total votes: 12

I wish it were possible for me to like MM93 and the rest of the Marquez clan; it would be so much more fun

Total votes: 44

I really don't understand the animosity toward Marc, other then its the 'Tiger Syndrome': you hate him because he's too successful! I'm a RACE fan and with Marc, as in with Tiger, we're watching history in the making! The posts after qualifying were 'interesting', to say the least. I'll refrain further comment. With that said, would any other rider finish 2nd starting from 11th? We know the answer to that. Am I a Marc Fanboy? I'm a MGP Fanboy and was really hoping to see a fight between the front row. Opps!

 

 

Total votes: 38

Not liking someone doesn’t mean you hate them.

This is the problem with the binary thinking presented to us by our leaders - if you’re not a full on capitalist, you’re a communist,if it’s not coal-fired energy it’s nothing, if it’s not Rachel it’s Monica......  It seems to me that this binary thinking is in fact the enemy of logical thought

I don’t hate Marc, but I don’t like him either.  So please don’t ascribe to me/us the limitations of your own thinking.  It is waaaaaaaay more complex than that!

Total votes: 14

^ The worst of people is brought out by the worst of shite. Note that narcissistic abuse is triggered by vulnerability over represented in others and reacted against in self. Limited superficial view. Black and white idealization and demonizing, self absorbed reactivity. A kind of skewed and limited awareness via inability to sit with one's own great vulnerability, and inclination to find it and attack it in others. Full of one's own shite, ick. I feel bad for them, and worse for the victimization recipients. At least Motomatters has it minimized. This has been an excellent community for a very long time, largely as an extension of David.

That aside, that WAS a fun karma crash for a very human Marquez. I loved it. AND a good clean aggressive race from the Skittle. Too bad Quartararo flipped his Sat and Sun tire pressures around and ran the Soft rear. Ah well. He is coming.

Total votes: 31

"For when the One Great Scorer comes

To mark against your name,

He writes - not that you won or lost -

But HOW you played the Game." 

Maybe I'm just old fashioned.......

Total votes: 17

you're old-fashioned. But so am I.  :)

I had a club racer friend who was fond of saying "rubbing is racing", and had a number of injuries to prove his adherence to that. Perhaps my "old-fashioned-ness" made me less successful as a club racer. But I can look at myself in the mirror and be okay with what I see.

The pinnacle of the sport is somewhat different, of course, and only Type A personalities need apply, but I like to think in the long run, what you posted still applies.

Total votes: 11

When Rossi was Top Gun...did he (also) ride around the track after finishing less-than-first with a commemorative flag with his number on it after the race order was decided? Marc has usually acknowledged his fans before he picks up this flag.  Maybe this is a tradition.

Marc's winning ways worked on me (but I preferred Dani...)  Once I started following MotoGP and saw him winning (and how he did it) I started paying attention to the Honda sport bikes in the dealer showroom I frequent most often.  Didn't get me on one, but I continue to check them out each time I'm in there.

Total votes: 9

I just can't get with the insincerity and the smarmy grin of MM93. As for the father - get a life, dude, sheesh!,,,and poor lil 'brother-of' - just a goofy doofus. I don't hate them (close, though, on Julia) I just find them insufferable. Hats off to MM's talent but to me he's not at all likable. Plus I despise Honda so I was predisposed.

Total votes: 7

both Fabio & Franco had such good pace thru practice and both of them just went backwards? did the team get something wrong?

otherwise, great for Vinales,  good on Rossi,  too bad for Zarco & piss on Mir for whining about penalty.

Total votes: 19

I'm not a Marquez fan in the way I support other riders, but gosh, you have to respect his drive, determination and at times, his grace.  His post race parc fermé interview was selfless, as he celebrated his brother's hard work and touching when he spoke of Afridza Munandar.  

Total votes: 37

Yamaha has gotten out of their troubled time. Electronics well sorted. Maverick looked great, and looks to have 3rd in hand unless Rins says otherwise in Spain. Rossi too, strong performance! Fastest lap to VR46.

Quartararo had a very disappointing race. He said that F tire pressure was too high. His garage did some odd and unfortunate things re tires. F tire pressure was a bit low previous to Sunday, when they upped it. But the temps were a bit cooler Sunday. He was also the only Yamaha to run the Soft rear, an interesting move that may have further pushed the front. Wondering if Saturday's intensity and emotion didn't also disrupt his focus somewhat. High pressure outside of the F tire too. He will be back in form for Valencia.

The Suzuki could get on inside lines well again. As Miller and Zarco discovered, it could be a line careening through you from behind. The Rins-Miller one was a big hit.

The only available video coverage of Mir taking Zarco out is the brief partial view from the rear of Miller. Too bad, as it is an interesting incident. Mir said it wasn't his fault, and Zarco "came to my garage" and "said sorry" after, which sounds strange to say the least. Zarco was running a solid 9th. He looks really good, to everyone except Jorge of course. I am not as surprised as most folks apparently. Good to see it, most curious what comes next. Still watching Bagnaia, and had pegged him for a step forward today that did not materialize. Hope remains.

The start and opening laps deserve multiple viewings. Did about a dozen times, zoomed on particular riders. Marquez was clean as a whistle while aggressive. T1 and T3 were lovely. How he can get away with appearing entirely unhurt from his Q2 karma crash is beyond me. His left knee was honked before he took flight, the ground impact was big. Ankles, wrists or collarbones weren't involved, but WHACK that knees to face augering was quite a blow. Hats off to good equipment and anti inflammatory medicine, but the Skittle keeps bouncing back. Is he subject to the same physics as eveyone else?

Vinales appears to have mastered hitting the pace first lap, a hallmark of this era. Outstanding start. Zero errors. Like with Lorenzo before him, when the Yamaha can get some space undisrupted to carve sweeping lines at a track like this one it is a gem. Low gear corners, big straights and excessive braking tracks not so much. Marc started so far back that no one battled with Vinales after opening laps.

The 2020 Honda is rumored to be much like the 2019 in character. So far the Yamaha development bike engines have not had nearly substantial enough outright power gains. Their strategy has been to isolate prioritized issues. First sort electronics, and improve engine character. Tire life, drive grip. Then mechanical grip via chassis and suspension. Done...so are you going to go ahead and get to a dyno improvement, or no? They had better not get too comforted by their closing races. This engine's horsepower and torque numbers cannot win a championship anymore. It is getting flattered a bit by a few riders in certain situations.

Fun weekend for plenty of reasons. Win for Vinales and Yamaha (nice front row sweep!). The old guard had their day over the new kids. Bikes and blokes.

Total votes: 18

i thought for sure his left knee was gonna be F****d. As well as his knee/hip. Any other human would have tore half the ligaments...... he really does benifit from his flexability training and genetics.

Total votes: 5