Results and summary of the red-flagged race at Sepang:
Dani Pedrosa has taken his third victory in a row, after leading the MotoGP race at Sepang when it was red-flagged due to the heavy rain. Pedrosa's victory takes him 5 points closer to Jorge Lorenzo in the championship race, Lorenzo's advantage now down to just 23 points with two races left in the championship.
The race followed the pattern familiar from Motegi, Jorge Lorenzo getting the holeshot and leading for the first laps, with Dani Pedrosa following closely in his wake. Third man on the front row Andrea Dovizioso could not capitalize on his good starting position, the Italian spinning up the rear of his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha on the wet grid and losing a lot of ground at the start. Ben Spies, inevitably, was a victim of Dovizioso's problems, being forced to back off at the start and losing spots along with the Italian.
Dovizioso's poor start left Casey Stoner in 3rd, but the Australian's excessive caution in the first few laps meant Lorenzo and Pedrosa could escape. Stoner had a whole group of riders backing up behind him, with Valentino Rossi at the head, the Italian buoyed by the wet weather after struggling so badly in the dry. Stefan Bradl sat on Rossi's tail, with Dovizioso quickly making up for his mistake, ahead of Alvaro Bautista and Nicky Hayden.
Once Lorenzo and Pedrosa had a gap, they were gone. Lorenzo pushed hard to try to gap Pedrosa, taking advantage of the extra grip of the softer rain tire he had elected to run. Try as he might, however, he could not break the Repsol Honda man, Pedrosa sitting calmly on Lorenzo's tail awaiting his chance. Pedrosa's hand was forced on lap 10, after the rain started falling much more heavily. Aware that the race could be called at any moment, Pedrosa launched an attack on the way into the final hairpin, disposing of Lorenzo with relative ease. Once past, he was gone, opening up a gap with complete ease and controlling the race. The gap to Lorenzo quickly grew larger, as Lorenzo's pace dropped off along with the grip of his tire, and as Pedrosa had predicted, the race was red-flagged by Race Direction on lap 14, after a spate of crashes made it clear that conditions were no longer safe to continue.
With just 13 of the 20 laps completed, one lap short of two thirds distance, Race Direction waited for conditions to improve, in case the race could be restarted. They only grew worse, the rain getting heavier and visibility becoming dire. The race was called compete, and Pedrosa declared the winner.
The decision to red flag the race came just in time for Jorge Lorenzo. The Yamaha man had been losing ground fast, just as Casey Stoner was getting his confidence in the wet up again, and getting into his stride. Stoner was on course to catch Lorenzo if the race had gone on for another couple of laps, which Lorenzo made easier by locking up the front wheel as he braked for the final hairpin and running wide. Lorenzo was one of the lucky ones: three laps earlier, Cal Crutchlow, Randy De Puniet, Ivan Silva and Stefan Bradl all went down within a minute of each other. Andrea Dovizioso had already crashed and rejoined the race by that point, while Ben Spies had crashed on lap 9, falling heavily and banging up his shoulder.
The chaos behind the leaders left Nicky Hayden in 4th, the sixth time in his career he has finished 4th in Malaysia. Hayden inherited the position from his Ducati teammate Valentino Rossi, who had been running strongly in 4th before losing a lot of time on lap 9. Rossi battled his way back past Alvaro Bautista to take 5th, the San Carlo Gresini Honda man ending the day in 6th. Hector Barbera took 7th, not far ahead of Aleix Espargaro, who finished as first CRT in 8th despite a crash on the sighting lap on his Aspar ART machine. PBM rider James Ellison rode another outstanding race in the wet to take 9th, ending ahead of Karel Abraham on the Cardion AB Ducati, who rounded out the top 10.
Pedrosa's victory makes life that little bit tougher for Jorge Lorenzo, cutting back his advantage to just 23 points over the Repsol Honda man. That should be enough for Lorenzo, but Pedrosa's form has been impressive over the last few races, taking victory in five of the last six races. Pedrosa has now won three races in a row for the first time in his career, and won his first race in the wet, the first time in his entire Grand Prix career.
|6||Stefan BRADL||HONDA||25'10.154||2 laps|
|35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||YAMAHA||22'51.268||3 laps|
|14||Randy DE PUNIET||ART||23'20.028||3 laps|
|22||Ivan SILVA||BQR||23'38.031||3 laps|
|5||Colin EDWARDS||SUTER||24'12.202||3 laps|
|11||Ben SPIES||YAMAHA||18'23.381||5 laps|