Rossi was on fire before late mistake ends in ashes
Valentino Rossi had a heroic run at the Sepang International Circuit, but it ended in heartbreak on lap 17 when the Italian superstar crashed out of the lead. He was able to rejoin the race and took the chequered flag in 18th place.
“It was a great shame because this was my best race of the season. 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.”
A champion in defeat
Despite the disappointment Rossi still acknowledged all of the fans on the slow down lap and put on a brave face for the cameras. This is not his first rodeo… But still, impressive to see his demeanour after the heartache.
In another great display of sportsmanship from an opposite side of the fence. The injured Jorge Lorenzo tweeted after the race the following.
“Apart from the crash, I’ve never seen @ValeYellow46 so consistent. More than ten laps in just one-tenth at the hottest and longest track impressed me today. And some said he started to feel his age after the last race….”
Rossi had a perfect start from second, taking the hole shot and holding the lead superbly. He had a stunning consistent pace that allowed him to make a clean getaway from his pursuers.
Though his advantage went up and down over the first half of the race, there was no one who could really reach Rossi at the front, let alone make an attempt at passing the nine-time World Champion.
However, in the final ten laps the heat and the tyre degradation meant Marc Márquez was closing in.
The Doctor responded by picking up the pace and defended his first place brilliantly, but a small mishap in Turn 1 on lap 17 caused him to slide down the tarmac. He was able to rejoin the race in 18th place and finished in the same position, 58.288s from first.
Today’s results see Rossi hold on to third position in the championship standings with a 25-point gap to second.
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Team Director
“For sure this is not the ending we had hoped for this weekend. The final results don‘t do justice to the pace of our riders, because they both had really strong form this weekend. Maverick had to start from the fourth row and make up a lot of ground. If he had started a bit more towards the front, he would have been a top contender today, because his pace matched Vale‘s. Valentino did exactly what he needed to do at the start. He was leading the race perfectly, so it‘s a great shame it ended the way it did. Nevertheless, we can take some positives from these last three races, as we made a step with the bike and were consistent in our performance. Today we were competitive at a circuit that doesn‘t necessarily play to our bike‘s strengths. So, with that in mind, we head to Valencia eager to fight at the front again during the season finale.”