2014 Sepang MotoGP Race Result: The Cream Rises To The Top

Full Recap and Results Below.

Marc Marquez has taken his twelfth victory of the season during a sweltering Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, the 2014 Champion equaled Mick Doohan's long standing premier class win record and also sealed the constructors Championship for Honda. Marquez had a difficult start to the race, dropping back to seventh at the opening corner. He eventually came out on top of a race-long scrap with Valentino Rossi and with five laps remaining he pulled the pin and disappeared into the distance after being given a thorough examination by 'The Doctor'.

Rossi had passed his team mate Jorge Lorenzo with ten laps remaining and Marquez promptly followed him through - the two entered into their own race from there but Rossi ended up over two seconds behind Marquez. Lorenzo began to struggle with severe tire drop-off at the halfway stage after leading the race early on, he fell away dramatically from the front but went on to earn his eighth successive podium a further second behind Rossi. 

Stefan Bradl crossed the line in fourth place and held off a stern late challenge from Bradley Smith while Pol Espargaro rode through the pain barrier to take a brave sixth place under trying conditions. Yonny Hernandez took seventh spot ahead of fellow Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso who encountered mechanical issues in the closing laps and was lucky to finish the race at all. Hector Barbera and Scott Redding rounded out the top ten in a race of high attrition where only fourteen riders finished.

Aleix Espargaro and Alvaro Bautista crashed out of the race on lap two, coming together under heavy braking at turn one. Dani Pedrosa crashed out of second place on the same lap after being passed by Lorenzo for the race lead. He was able to remount his Honda but cruelly crashed out of the race again having recovered to eleventh place with seven laps remaining. Cal Crutchlow retired early on after encountering mechanical issues while Nicky Hayden crashed on lap seven, losing the front under braking at the turn nine hairpin.

Results:

Pos. Points Num. Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 25 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 40'45.523
2 20 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 2.445
3 16 99 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha 3.508
4 13 6 Stefan BRADL Honda 21.234
5 11 38 Bradley SMITH Yamaha 22.283
6 10 44 Pol ESPARGARO Yamaha 34.668
7 9 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ Ducati 38.435
8 8 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 48.839
9 7 8 Hector BARBERA Ducati 50.792
10 6 45 Scott REDDING Honda 59.088
11 5 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda +1'15.949
12 4 70 Michael LAVERTY PBM +1'17.966
13 3 63 Mike DI MEGLIO Avintia +1'27.773
14 2 23 Broc PARKES PBM +1'44.244
Not Classified
    15 Alex DE ANGELIS Forward Yamaha 1 Lap
    9 Danilo PETRUCCI ART 6 Laps
    26 Dani PEDROSA Honda 8 Laps
    17 Karel ABRAHAM Honda 9 Laps
    69 Nicky HAYDEN Honda 14 Laps
    35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Ducati 16 Laps
    41 Aleix ESPARGARO Forward Yamaha 19 Laps
    19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Honda 19 Laps

 

Round Number: 
17
2014
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Comments

That was a pretty good race, though again I'm disappointed in Jorge. Got trounced by Rossi yet again, didn't think that would happen this race given his form in practice.

That the tire choice "was not [Lorenzo's] undoing", but one of the tank stiction pads.

Curious if it's either or both; after last weekend's tire choice and consequent result.

Did anyone else think the mantel of premiere-class-grand-prix-motorcycle-racing greatness was passed from Rossi to Marquez on the 15th lap, when Marquez finally began to pull away from Rossi? And that this mantel-passing was made official during the cooldown lap when Rossi reverently bowed his head to Marquez while shaking his hand as they rode next to each other?

And all this after Marquez rather pointedly ignored Rossi in the post-quallifying interview, saying Lorenzo would be a formidable challenger in the first part of the race but that Dani would be his main concern throughout the race?

Or am I just a sucker for drama, seeing symbolism where there really is none?

Didn't seem like that. The lap times suggest that Rossi was unable to to maintain the pace that they were circulating at rather than Marquez "with five laps remaining he pulled the pin and disappeared into the distance". Tyres? Fitness?

It was Rossi faling back towards Lorenzo, not Marquez getting faster from lap 17 onwards. From MotoGP.com: http://resources.motogp.com/files/results/2014/MAL/MotoGP/RAC/analysisby...

It seems based on a few races this season that the Yamaha, depending on set-up, can chew up a front tire pretty good (Austin, last week at PI etc.) - I'll bet that part of it is related to higher corner speed putting more heat into the front, less so for Rossi than Lorenzo due to stylistic differences but much more so for Yamaha than Honda. I think Rossi said something about losing, or nearly losing, the front a couple of times and then really backing off.

Lorenzo used the hard tire today, and he didn't suffer any performance loss as the race progressed, he was just slower on a healthy tire than MM and Rossi - I think there's little doubt that the medium would have failed Lorenzo today based on what happened last weekend. The Honda approach, today anyway, let the superior medium tire last until the end. Simple as that.

I'll tell you what, though, if Yamaha gets the seamless downshift does anyone doubt that we're in for a sensational battle next year? Assuming equal-ish equipment, I think it's even odds between VR and MM (say 35/35 each or maybe 36/34 to MM), with JL maybe a little behind (say 30) - if VR shows up like he did this year. Pedrosa, barring something bizarre, is straight out. The only "wild card" - which I'm excited to see in winter testing, is the new Ducati. If the Duc can turn...

I just rewatched the scene and its just the usual meaningless politeness of Rossi.
I´m looking forward to next season and I´m sure that it will be the season where the gloves are finally off and MM93 will receive a treatment like Gibernau and countless others with paint swapping and beeing pushed into the gravel trapp.
I hope so at least.
If not: At one stage or the other I have to hand it to MM93 , but in my head I will always think: He never achieved a top class title without rider aids and no way he could´ve achieved the title with a 500cc 2-stroke monster in his 1st year.
It will also a long road until he has 9 titles.
Also I´m almost certain, that I will see another "gone fishing" sign as soon as he got a couple more titles.

MM93 has long since proven he is no flash in the pan and there is no reason at this point to expect anything less than many years of stellar MotoGP racing from him.
Most acknowledge he has elevated the competition to a new level, but equally, the second half of the season showed many others rising to that challenge.
Marquez' first half was assisted by superior Honda performance and the momentum of being young, fresh and awesome, but we now know he is not invulnerable, has limits and makes mistakes like everyone else. Importantly, Marquez knows these things too, so next year will likely be much more difficult to dominate. Only time will tell if he is as durable as Rossi, who has been the yardstick by which the sport has been measured for much of its recent history.
Trying to compare racing now with racing during the 2-stroke or 900 era, or any other, is a fool's errand. Then was then, now is now; apples and oranges.

It seems that both Rossi and Lorenzo are finally fit and ready to beat (or just at the same level as...) Marquez but now the bikes make difference. Sepang in my opinion showed that Honda has this obvious +5% performance advantage over Yamaha. Lorenzo probably could do more (to catch his teammate) but Rossi just extracted 100% from himself and the current M1 and was unable to win due to the bike limits.
All in all it's good to see factory Yamaha riders' resurgence especially Valentino. I once (Ducati era) almost give him up for lost but with the proper focus Rossi is again 'the old Rossi' and maybe more matured. So I see it like a positive change.
I'm close to his age and understand that the body is changing, some physical things become harder to maintain and to be at this level (compared to 21-old Marquez) just impresses. So, yeah, Rossi can surprise everybody in the near future. It's interesting what 2015 will bring and what MotoGP will look like after hard reset (2016)!
Now let's check the last 2014 feature - Suzuki in Valencia!

What certainly piqued my interest is what set-up VR46 managed to find over night in-order to change what was effectively a rather mediocre Fp1-4 and Qualifying into a hum-dinger of race?

I also really liked some of the post race footage where Rossi was quite happily holding off Lorenzo & MM (if but only for a while) and giving them a run for their money (painted quite the picture of the younger two holding onto VR's short and curlies) .

Kudos to Bradley as well, hope he can hold onto that momentum and keep it going!

This is what Valentino does though, isn't it. It seems to me that this is his workaround to the current qualifying system. He can't seem to get the bike quite sorted for qualifying itself but does seem to get enough info by race day to come out competitive. Mind you, he was always a bit iffy with qualifying.

Yep, that's what he does. How many times early in Rossi's big-bike career did he find himself mid-pack before fighting his way through to take the lead with about half the race left and win? I always thought he did it on purpose 'cause winning from the front was too easy.

And I think it way predates the current qualifying system.

I can't even remember how many times Vale found something between the end of not racing and the beginning of racing. It's what he does.

I don't think its like he sets out to do it, it's probably more of an id thing, or whatever of the three states of mental consciousness it is that controls things behind the scenes.

Rossi often 'finds" something. Seems it's the way he works and continues to work towards improvement and not just a a one quick lap.
He looked to have Lorenzo sorted early, motogp yardstick for sure,still.

but from the things i hear and read it was rossi who kept the pace with mm( relative easy) untill his tyres droped so rossi lose some speed.(not mm pull the pin) Rossi said he thought he could win but the tires didnt last.
And it wasnt JL who had tire drop. JL was tired due to wrong(not enough) training.
he said the tires were good. normaly he takes the soft but felt good on the hard.

I've just put that in my calendar for one year's time to see if you're right.

Only joking.

Many fans would love that, I would be extremely surprised, he has to better his team-mate, and then MM.

But here's to closer competition!

As tires go off Marquez and the Honda have something over the others. He was drifting the bike into corners in ways the ither riders are not. How much of that is about the Honda vs the Yamaha I am curious, as the Yamaha is not so inclined, but most of it seems to be about Marc's skill at and over the limit.

In that sense MM did power fwd from Rossi even though the lap times say otherwise. He stepped it up. Amazing kid!

Great job Rossi and garage. Enjoying this season a bunch.