Round 18Malaysia

  • Marquez Continues Magical Run with Second at Sepang

    MotoGP king Marc Marquez finished a brave second in the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, just 24 hours after taking a heavy tumble in the qualifying session.



Report

Marquez Continues Magical Run with Second at Sepang

SEPANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, Malaysia, November 3, 2019

MotoGP king Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) finished a brave second in today's Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, just 24 hours after taking a heavy tumble in yesterday's qualifying session.

Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez

This remarkable result continues Marquez's amazing run of 17 top-two finishes from the first 18 races of 2019. It also breaks yet another record for the 26-year-old Spaniard, who has scored 395 points so far this season, an all-time record.

Weather conditions at Sepang were as grueling as ever, with high temperatures and sweltering humidity making this arguably the toughest race of the season for riders, their motorcycles and tires.

Life would have been tough for Marquez during a perfect Sepang weekend, but the six-times MotoGP World Champion made life more difficult for himself by falling at Turn Two yesterday. The crash left him battered and bruised, but once again he shrugged off the pain throughout the race to finish just three seconds behind winner Maverick Vinales.

Marquez's injuries weren't his only concern following yesterday's  tumble. As a result of the fall he was unable to complete qualifying, which put him outside the top ten on the grid for the first time since Mugello 2015.

And yet he rode an incredible first few laps, using the awesome power of his RC213V to move into fifth place in the first corners and into second place by the end of the first lap. From there he gave chase to Vinales, who was also his main rival in last Sunday's Australian GP, but he had already overused his tires in that epic early comeback. Occasionally he did slightly close the gap on his countryman, but considering his physical condition he decided to focus on staying on board in the hot and slippery conditions.

With 18 of 19 races done Marquez's record stands at 11 victories, six second places and one DNF, when he slid out of the lead in April's Grand Prix of the Americas.

Marquez secured the 2019 MotoGP Riders World Championship at last month's Thailand Grand Prix and helped Honda wrap up a record-breaking 25th MotoGP Constructors World Championship at the Japanese Grand Prix two weeks ago. Two Sundays from now he will aim to help the Repsol Honda Team win the MotoGP Teams World Championship. If rider, manufacturer and team succeed in this endeavour it will be their third consecutive triple crown.

Marquez's record-breaking result made his day complete, after his younger brother earlier secured the Moto2 World Championship. Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) finished second in today's Moto2 race to make sure of the title with one race remaining. Indeed, the joy of the brotherly celebration helped him forget his injuries when he went out to race his RC213V!

Team-mate Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) rode a determined race, securing his first World Championship points since September's San Marino Grand Prix. The three-times MotoGP World Champion is still working his way back to full strength and confidence following a four-race layoff due to injuries sustained at June's Dutch TT.

Lorenzo's pace through the race, chasing Aleix Espargaro over the line, suggested that he is slowly returning to full-race fitness. The 33-year-old Spaniard also fell yesterday but suffered no ill effects during the race, when he rode with more confidence than he's had at recent races.

Johan Zarco (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) was very much out of luck. The 29-year-old Frenchman was showing great speed during his second race aboard the 2018-spec RC213V machines of Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V), who is recovering from shoulder surgery. Zarco rode a strong race, working his way forward and into the top ten. He was running a very promising ninth with just four laps to go when he was taken out by Joan Mir. The Spanish rookie was sanctioned with a long-lap penalty for his aggressive move on Zarco.

Last Sunday Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) finished a brilliant second to Marquez in Australia after a superb weekend's work. However, the 34-year-old Briton has had a more challenging time here. He was able to chase faster riders in qualifying to snatch an excellent second-row start, but he struggled to extract maximum performance from his RC213V over race distance. Crutchlow was holding 12th place, unable to find decent front grip, when he slid off six laps before the finish. It was his first fall since he crashed in similarly low-grip conditions at Misano in September.

Alex Marquez

Marc Marquez

Four weeks after older brother Marc wrapped up the 2019 MotoGP World Championship Alex Marquez today secured the 2019 Moto2 World Championship.

The 23-year-old's second world title, after his Moto3 success in 2014, made history: not only is he the first rider to win both the Moto2 and Moto3 crowns, but he and his brother are the first simultaneous sibling premier-class and intermediate-class champions in the 71-year history of motorcycle Grand Prix racing.

The penultimate race of the 2019 Moto2 confrontation was a real thriller, with the title outcome uncertain until the leading trio took the checkered flag.

The victory battle was between the three title hopefuls: Marquez, second overall Thomas Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) and third-overall Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM).

Binder went into the race 33 points down on series leader Marquez, so his title hopes were minimal. Luthi, however, was 28 points down, so his chances were greater.

Binder dominated throughout, chased all the way by Marquez, who had Luthi right behind him. If the 32-year-old Swiss had overtaken Marquez then the title would have gone down to the final race at Valencia two Sundays from now.

There were numerous tumbles as riders struggled to find grip around the hot, greasy track, and each of the trio had their moments during the race. Marquez started the final lap eight tenths of a second behind 24-year-old South African Binder and just seven tenths in front of Luthi. However, he held his nerve to stay second to the flag and take the championship. On his slowdown lap he was congratulated by fans and by Marc, before big brother returned to the paddock to prepare for the MotoGP race.

Marquez's team-mate Xavi Vierge (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) won a similarly entertaining battle for fourth, in front of Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up Speed Up), Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM KTM), Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40 Kalex) and Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team Kalex).

Impressive rookie Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia, Kalex) was on his way to another excellent points-scoring result until the 20-year-old Thai rider slid off at the Turn 15 hairpin.

Team-mate Dimas Ekky Pratama (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) finished 18th, just three places outside World Championship points, his best result since he began Grand Prix racing.

Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) won his third consecutive Moto3 victory today, exactly one week after securing the 2019 Moto3 World Championship at Phillip Island.

The last rider to win as many successive races in the Moto3/125cc category was Marc Marquez in 2010.

Today's Malaysian Moto3 race was a typical Moto3 encounter, with a big pack of riders battling throughout for victory.

During the final laps 22-year-old Italian Dalla Porta began to assert his dominance, while half a dozen riders disputed the final podium positions just a few tenths of a second behind.

Finally Dalla Porta took the checkered flag 0.410 seconds in front, chased over the line by 16-year-old rookie Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW), who achieved his first podium with a thrilling final few laps to better fellow Spaniard Jaume Masia by three tenths of a second. Masia's ride was spectacular – a technical problem had forced him to start the race from the back row of the grid!

Garcia's fellow rookie Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) also rode a superb Malaysian GP, the 18-year-old from Saitama working his way through from 14th on the grid to steadily hunt down the lead pack. He so nearly repeated his Aragon GP podium, challenging for third place at the final corner and taking the flag in fourth, only 0.082 seconds behind Masia.

Ogura's team-mate Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) was out of luck. The 19-year-old from Fukuoka was chasing a top-ten result when he was involved in a three-rider crash.

This was not first multiple incident. Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) led the race before halfway when he crashed, his fallen machine taking front-row starter Tatsuki Suzuki (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) and Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) with him. No rider in these two accidents suffered serious injuries.

Pole starter Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) also led the race, ending the 17 laps in sixth, in the midst of the group fighting for second, just ahead of fellow front-row starter John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) who ran wide in the crucial final laps.

Today's racing went ahead under a cloud. During yesterday's Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup race Afridza Munandar lost his life following a lap-one incident. Despite the best efforts of circuit medical staff and those at Kuala Lumpur Hospital, where he was transferred by helicopter, Munandar succumbed to his injuries.

The 20-year-old Indonesian rider had been one of the standout riders of the 2019 IATC series, taking two race wins and four further podium results. Honda would like to extend its deepest condolences to Munandar's family, friends and loved ones.

Today's opening Moto3 race was preceded by a minute's silence in honor of Munandar, attended by much of the paddock. Most of today's podium finishers dedicated their results to this great young talent.

Today's Malaysian Grand Prix followed the Japanese and Australian events, on three consecutive weekends. The MotoGP paddock now returns to Europe for the season-ending Valencia Grand Prix in Spain on November 17.

Comments

MotoGP

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 2nd

"It was an incredible race, a great first lap. Maybe the best of my career, alongside Mugello 2015 – I watched this lap last night to see what I did! It was a very nice first lap but unfortunately I destroyed the tire in those first three laps and I lost a little time with [Jack] Miller. Vinales was faster than us today and the target was the podium. I tried to do like in Phillip Island and stay right behind him but the gap was too big at 1.1 seconds and I made a mistake and dropped back. I'm happy with my race, but you can't imagine how happy I am for my brother's victory – he deserves it so much. It's an incredible day but we also have to remember [Afridza] Munandar, a young and talented rider who we unfortunately lost. A big hug to his family and friends."

Jorge Lorenzo, Repsol Honda Team: 14th

"At the start of the race it was very difficult with the other riders around, the turbulence disturbed my pace a lot. But there are some positives because I was able to be within seven tenths of my best lap time for the whole race. Obviously we are still not fast enough but we are getting closer and closer to the goal of being 30 seconds from the winner after my crash in Assen. The two points we earned are important to help the team fight for the Teams Championship in Valencia, this is the main objective now."

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda CASTROL: DNF

"Today was a very difficult race and I'm very disappointed with the result. I got a really bad start and after the first laps I found myself well back in the field. I had a bad feeling with the tires – I didn't feel good grip from the track with the bike setting for these conditions. I felt we made progress over the weekend, but after a bad start and being passed by a lot of riders in the first laps I struggled to have the pace to go with the front guys. I made a small mistake in braking while I was trying to find some grip from front and rear. I turned the engine-brake down and unfortunately locked the front tire. We had a good few races before coming here, so now we look forward to the season finale at Valencia."

Johann Zarco, LCR Honda IDEMITSU: DNF

"I was happy with my race. I had a good pace and was back fighting with some good guys, although I still need to make another step to ride the Honda better, but so far I feel good on the bike and I have the potential to go faster and go with the top guys. It is always difficult in the heat in Malaysia, but I was giving my best and going well. I had a good fight with Jack [Miller] for eighth position. I could've been faster, so I tried to overtake Jack many times, but then he overtook me and we lost time, so some guys caught us. When I tried to overtake Jack again Joan Mir did an extreme overtake on me and I crashed. It's a shame but in the back of my mind it's a good feeling to be fighting for good results once again. I will keeping pushing and learning and hope for a good result at Valencia."

Moto2

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Ajo: 1st

"The goal today was to win the contest. We gave it everything we had. I was close to crashing and I had to run off track. Luckily, I pushed hard and regained the lead quickly. I tried to put the maximum pressure on Alex but today he put in an incredible race and I have to congratulate him on the championship. We did everything we could at the Malaysian Grand Prix, which was to earn the first position, and we have to be happy for that."

Alex Marquez, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 2nd

"I'm so, so happy and so thankful to the team. They did an amazing job and gave me the confidence throughout the season and especially this weekend. We came here after some hard races where I was struggling a lot. Today was a really tough race but we managed it in the best way. From lap one the front tire was difficult to control. The grip was low but I managed the pressure from Luthi behind in the best way. He was pushing quite a lot. But we did a great race. I feel like I'm living a dream and I just want to enjoy this moment with the team."

Thomas Luthi, Dynavolt Intact GP: 3rd

"Congratulations to Alex for winning the title. Of course, I am really happy about the podium. I put my whole heart in the bike today and tried really everything. Those two in front were really strong today and they had the same style. When I tried to close up to them I lost the front. I was not in the position to make any mistakes today. It was very demanding to ride at the limit, or over the limit and not make any mistakes. This was the most important thing today. It is nice to be on the podium, but it is also sad that I could not keep the championship open a little longer. It was not just today, that I lost the championship. This started at race four or five, when we had our difficulties. Alex made up many points then and we lost too many. But I want to take the positives with me. We are back on the podium, we are strong and that is important. I am looking forward to Valencia now and will try to attack once more."

Dimas Ekky Pratama, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia: 18th

"Overall I made good progress during the weekend. The team helped me a lot with the settings. In warm-up I rode with a full tank and used tires and I felt better. During the race, I tried to maintain a good pace. It's my best result ever and I had the option to do even better if I had managed to overtake [Jake] Dixon. Today I wish to remember Afridza Munandar and offer my deepest sympathies to his family and friends."

Somkiat Chantra, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia: DNF

"It's difficult to describe my feelings today. I was doing a good race, scoring the eighth best lap time of the race. I felt good and I was overtaking so many riders after starting from 21st. But I made a small mistake in the last corner and I crashed. I'm sorry because I had a real chance to have a good result here. But anyway, I will learn from my mistakes."

Moto3

Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Leopard Racing: 1st

"Before the race I said to people that my only target today was to enjoy the race and win the race, so I enjoyed the race and won the race! It wasn't easy – the conditions were tough and there wasn't much grip in the heat, so it was important to think hard and ride well. This is another great result for the whole team, who have worked so hard this weekend in such hot and humid conditions. My thanks as always to all of them and my thanks to my family."

Sergio Garcia, Estrella Galicia 0,0: 2nd

"It was a very hard race, very hot and with a lot of overtaking. I knew I could be up at the front, although I didn't imagine I would be fighting for the podium. I kept overtaking other riders, but I didn't see it as a clear possibility until the last lap. We went into the final corner on the limit. I thought I was going to crash, but in the end we held on. It was an incredible race and I'm very happy. I want to thank my family and my team. I also want to dedicate this podium to Afridza Munandar, the Asia Talent Cup rider who died in yesterday's race."

Ai Ogura, Honda Team Asia: 4th

"In Motegi and Australia I didn't do a good race, but today I'm happy with the result. Starting from 14th position, I struggled to overtake the other riders, but after some accidents I found some free space to ride comfortably. I've managed my laps time and tires also, so in the end I tried to fight for the podium, but it was not enough and I finished fourth. We have found something for next year, and I'm looking forward to Valencia."

Kaito Toba, Honda Team Asia: DNF

"Again, an unlucky race for me. I felt strong, and I was controlling the race, riding inside the group, but in front of me, two riders crashed, and I wasn't able to dodge them. Now, it is time to recharge my mind and start to think about Valencia."

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Results

MotoGP World Championship 2019
Round 18: Malaysia Race

MotoGP Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Maverick VIÑALES (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)
2 Marc MÁRQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
4 Valentino ROSSI (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)
5 Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
6 Franco MORBIDELLI (Petronas Yamaha SRT)
7 Fabio QUARTARARO (Petronas Yamaha SRT)
8 Jack MILLER (Pramac Racing)
9 Danilo PETRUCCI (Ducati Team)
10 Joan MIR (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
11 Pol ESPARGARO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
12 Francesco BAGNAIA (Pramac Racing)
13 Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
14 Jorge LORENZO (Repsol Honda Team)
15 Mika KALLIO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
16 Hafizh SYAHRIN (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
17 Karel ABRAHAM (Reale Avintia Racing)
RT Johann ZARCO (LCR Honda IDEMITSU)
RT Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda CASTROL)
RT Andrea IANNONE (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)

Moto2 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
2 Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
3 Thomas LUTHI (Dynavolt Intact GP)
4 Xavi VIERGE (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
5 Jorge NAVARRO (Beta Tools Speed Up)
6 Iker LECUONA (American Racing KTM)
7 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Flexbox HP 40)
8 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team)
9 Marcel SCHROTTER (Dynavolt Intact GP)
10 Luca MARINI (SKY Racing Team VR46)
11 Augusto FERNANDEZ (Flexbox HP 40)
12 Nicolo BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
13 Mattia PASINI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)
14 Remy GARDNER (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team)
15 Dominique AEGERTER (MV Agusta Temporary Forward)
16 Andrea LOCATELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)
17 Jake DIXON (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team)
18 Dimas EKKY PRATAMA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
19 Joe ROBERTS (American Racing KTM)
20 Jesko RAFFIN (NTS RW Racing GP)
21 Philipp OETTL (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
22 Lukas TULOVIC (Kiefer Racing)
23 Xavi CARDELUS (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team)
24 Enea BASTIANINI (Italtrans Racing Team)
RT Sam LOWES (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
RT Marco BEZZECCHI (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
RT Stefano MANZI (MV Agusta Temporary Forward)
RT Somkiat CHANTRA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
RT Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Beta Tools Speed Up)
RT Adam NORRODIN (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
RT Jorge MARTIN (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
RT Bo BENDSNEYDER (NTS RW Racing GP)

Moto3 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Leopard Racing)
2 Sergio GARCIA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
3 Jaume MASIA (Mugen Race)
4 Ai OGURA (Honda Team Asia)
5 Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46)
6 Marcos RAMIREZ (Leopard Racing)
7 John MCPHEE (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
8 Aron CANET (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team)
9 Tony ARBOLINO (VNE Snipers)
10 Niccolò ANTONELLI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
11 Romano FENATI (VNE Snipers)
12 Albert ARENAS (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team)
13 Filip SALAC (Redox PruestelGP)
14 Raul FERNANDEZ (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team)
15 Riccardo ROSSI (Kommerling Gresini Moto3)
16 Makar YURCHENKO (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race)
17 Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox PruestelGP)
18 Kazuki MASAKI (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race)
19 Dennis FOGGIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
20 Can ONCU (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
21 Tom BOOTH-AMOS (CIP Green Power)
RT Darryn BINDER (CIP Green Power)
RT Ayumu SASAKI (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
RT Andrea MIGNO (Mugen Race)
RT Kaito TOBA (Honda Team Asia)
RT Stefano NEPA (Reale Avintia Arizona 77)
RT Tatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
RT Gabriel RODRIGO (Kommerling Gresini Moto3)
RT Alonso LOPEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)

Photos