Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez made up for his DNF in Australia by taking victory at the Shell Malaysian Grand Prix after Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, who was odds on to claim his first win of the season, crashed out of the lead with four laps to go.
It was building up to a last lap head to head between the great rivals when out of the blue Rossi lost the rear of his M1Yamaha at turn 1. Marquez was so close he could see it all happen in front of his disbelieving eyes.
“It was a great shame because this was my best race of the season.” Said a disappointed Rossi. “I felt comfortable, I had a good pace, I pushed, and I had the chance to win, but unfortunately with four or five laps to go I fell. I don’t understand what happened. I made a mistake, because I crashed. It’s such a pity, but it still remains a good weekend, because we improved the setting of the bike. I think we have to do some more work, but it looks like we were able to use the bike in a better way in the last few races. This is good, but we have to see if we’re also strong in Valencia. It’s a difficult track for us in general, but we have to try.”
With Rossi out, Marquez cruised to his ninth win of the season and 70th of his career, well clear of Team Ecstar Suzuki’s Alex Rins and Monster Engery Tech3 Yamaha’s Johann Zarco. After starting from seventh on the grid it was yet another brilliant performance by the reigning World Champion.
“It was a hard race, first of all because I was starting from seventh place. I didn’t get a perfect start, and then my first lap was good but not one of the best of my career. Step by step, I overtook some riders and got to second place. I saw that Valentino was pushing and I started to chase him, lapping at qualifying pace! But in the process, I overheated the rear tyre; the front was also warming up quickly and the feeling wasn’t good. So for a few laps, I just tried to cool down and in so doing I began to feel better and better. I saw I was getting closer to Valentino and honestly that gave me extra motivation. At that moment, it was just a matter of instinct and pushing, something that you can do when you’ve already got the Championship. Unfortunately, he made a little mistake in turn one, which is a shame as it would have been nice to see how the duel would have ended. Anyway, when I saw him crash, I just cooled down and focused on finishing the race. We won, and that was the best way to seal the Constructors Championship. I would also like to congratulate Jorge Martin and “Pecco” Bagnaia for taking Championships. We’ll celebrate together in Valencia.” Said Marquez.
Francesco Bagnaia clinched the 2018 Moto2 World Championship for the Sky Racing Team VR46 team at the Malaysian Grand Prix after finishing third, with title rival Miguel Oliveira on the Red Bull KTM Ajo in second. Bagnaia’s teammate Luca Marini made it an even more memorable day for Sky Racing Team VR46 as he secured his maiden Grand Prix victory in style after coming so close on a number of occasions.
Del Conca Gresini Moto3’s Jorge Martin was crowned the Moto3 World Champion after claiming a stunning Sepang International Circuit victory, with his main Championship rival Marco Bezzecchi finishing a disappointing fifth to hand the title to the Spaniard. Leopard Racing teammates Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Enea Bastianini completed the podium after another hard-fought contest in Malaysia.