Dovizioso Storms Sepang as 9th Winner of 2016

The unbelievable becomes the reality once again this season as ‘DesmoDovi’ emerges from the spray to be crowned the ninth winner in a thrilling Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.

 

Dovizioso: “I really wanted to win”

Andrea Dovizioso took his second ever victory at the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, as he navigated the torrential conditions of Sepang to emerge as the ninth winner of 2016: an all time first for the MotoGP World Championship to write another chapter in the ever-changing history books of the premier class. After dueling for the lead earlier in the race, Valentino Rossi came home P2, with teammate Jorge Lorenzo completing the podium.

 

Lorenzo: “Being honest, I’ve been lucky”

Lorenzo got the best start off the front row, but it was Marc Marquez from Row 2 who moved through the furthest up to second around Turn 1 with Lorenzo ahead and the frontrunners shuffling. With Rossi pushed down to P4, the front group of the Movistar Yamahas, Ducati Team and Marquez were joined in the fight at the front by Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro before the Spaniard then slid out at Turn 1; able to rejoin but down the order.

 

Rossi fought his way back into the lead before Andrea Iannone struck to take P1 despite still recovering from a cracked vertebra from a crash in Misano the Maniac held firm. Teammate Dovizioso was holding off Marquez in third and fourth, with Jorge Lorenzo stalked by Cal Crutchlow just behind. A duel broke out at the front between Rossi and Iannone, with the Maniac true to form and hitting back as the Doctor attacked, before a Turn 15 move saw Iannone take back the lead and power out of the corner ahead with the speed of the Desmosedici GP16 unthreatened on the main straight.

 

Dovizioso and Marquez were far from out of the fight, with both moving back to gain on the Italian duo in the lead. Lorenzo was the rider finding himself out of podium contention as he fell down to sixth, moving back into the top five as Phillip Island winner Crutchlow then fell at Turn 2 the first shot of melodrama in the Malaysian GP. Two more high profile crashes then rocked the front group, as reigning World Champion Marquez lost his Honda at Turn 11 and slid out rejoining in the points but out of contention for the victory followed by early superstar Andrea Iannone at Turn 9, who was unable to rejoin but walked away unscathed. World Champion Marc Marquez crashed for the second week running when tumbling at turn 11 at Sepang. He re-mounted his bike to finish 11th

 

Dovizioso vs Rossi: Italy vs Italy: Yamaha vs Ducati became the duel at the front and Rossi was beginning to suffer with the front tyre. With a handful of laps remaining, the rider from Tavullia ran wide at Turn 1 and left his compatriot able to get through, with ‘DesmoDovi’ needing no further invitation to start building a gap. Keeping it calm and on the road, the number four Ducati crossed the line an incredible margin clear by the penultimate lap, before letting that advantage eke away on his way to the flag – keeping everything minimal risk. Rossi kept his YZR M1 upright in second, as Lorenzo took a solid result in the wet to complete the podium, with the caution that at the start saw the Mallorcan overtaken then converted into a good haul of points as he kept it on the road. Dovizioso’s spectacular win, as well as marking the ninth different victor of the year, is his second premier class victory – the first being Donington Park in 2009 – and the second win this season for the Borgo Panigale factory, after a long drought since 2010.

 

Loris Baz and Hector Barbera were the unsung heroes further back on track as the drama ahead stole the spotlight, with Baz showing incredible wet weather pace once again, into fourth with five laps to go. Barbera then overtook his teammate, with the two crossing the line to complete the top five in another Brno-esque triumph for the team. Maverick Viñales had an uncharacteristically quiet race as the Silverstone winner struggled slightly in the wet conditions, nevertheless taking a solid P6 and good haul of points. Alvaro Bautista shone for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini once again in Malaysia with a well-deserved seventh place for the Noale factory, ahead of Assen winner Jack Miller, Pol Espargaro and Danilo Petrucci, who completed the top ten.

 

World Champion Marc Marquez despite his crash crossed the line eleventh to retain Phillip Island as his only DNF in a stunning year on his scorecard. The paddock now return to Valencia and home turf for Marquez, as he prepares to ride at home for the first time since taking his third premier class crown – but the one remaining race now begs the question:

Can there be a tenth?

 

Pos.

Rider

Team

Time/Gap

1

Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team 42’27.333

2

Valentino ROSSI Movistar Yamaha MotoGP +3.115

3

Jorge LORENZO Movistar Yamaha MotoGP +11.924

4

Hector BARBERA Avintia Racing +19.916

5

Loris BAZ Avintia Racing +21.353

6

Maverick VIÑALES Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +22.932

7

Alvaro BAUTISTA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +25.829

8

Jack MILLER Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS +32.746

9

Pol ESPARGARO Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +33.704

10

Danilo PETRUCCI OCTO Pramac Yakhnich +34.280

11

Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team +36.480

12

Eugene LAVERTY Pull & Bear Aspar Team +36.638

13

Aleix ESPARGARO Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +36.897

14

Bradley SMITH Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +45.609

15

Scott REDDING OCTO Pramac Yakhnich +49.779

16

Hiroshi AOYAMA Repsol Honda Team +52.665

17

Stefan BRADL Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +52.784

18

Tito RABAT Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS +54.891
Andrea IANNONE Ducati Team 7 Laps
Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda 8 Laps
Yonny HERNANDEZ Pull & Bear Aspar Team 8 Laps

 

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