Motorsport: Wild times on a wet track

By Eric Thompson

Dani Pedrosa shows the style that took him to the podium.  Photo / AP
Dani Pedrosa shows the style that took him to the podium. Photo / AP

The rain gods decided the outcome of the Malaysian MotoGP over the weekend with Dani Pedrosa declared the winner after only 13 of the scheduled 200 laps were completed to make it his third win on the trot.

"I am very, very happy today as it's my first win in the rain in my life ever," said Pedrosa. "I knew Jorge was on a soft rear tyre and he could pull out some good laps at the start.

"Lap by lap I got a little more confident and I could still push and at half way in the race I overtook him and built a good gap."

So again Jorge Lorenzo had to follow Pedrosa home after an incident in the pouring rain that almost saw him crash out of the race, which could have ended his championship bid right there.

Casey Stoner gained his first top-three finish since his come back after injuring an ankle at the Indianapolis Grand Prix.

"At the start of the race I had no confidence and just wanted to keep in front of those behind me.

"As the race went on I got more confident and started to close when the rain got really heavy."

After a hot and heavy qualifier where Lorenzo pipped Pedrosa in the dying seconds of the session to snatch pole, and set a qualifying and track record, the race itself was a bit of damp squib.

The rain duly arrived as it had all week, but this time did not abate and the race was declared a wet affair. In terms of their lives, Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Dovizioso were on the front row with Stoner, Cal Crutchlow and Ben Spies on row two.

When the lights went out it was Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Stoner who lead the pack into the first corner with the rest of the field taking it cautiously.

After a few laps Stoner and the rest of the field began to lose touch with the flying pair of Lorenzo and Pedrosa.

At half-race distance the Spaniards had put nearly 7s on the chasing pack and were settling in for their own private duel.

Stoner, meanwhile, had pulled a safety margin of nearly 1s on Dovizioso, who threw it away shortly afterwards.

A lap later Pedrosa pounced on Lorenzo at the end of the straight and began to pull away.

At this time of the race Spies' front end let go and down he went followed in short order by Crutchlow, Randy De Puniet, Stefan Bradl and Ivan Silva. Despite complaining that his bike was one of the worst he had ridden in qualifying, Stoner found his groove in the wet and held a comfort 5s gap on Hayden.

On lap 14 the organisers saw sense and red-flagged the race after Lorenzo had a big moment at the end of the straight and almost lost his bike, allowing Stoner to close right up.

Valentino Rossi's fractious affair with Ducati continued in qualifying where he could only manage 11th but the rain appeared to suit him at the finish he had hauled himself up to fifth. After a 20-minute delay, race control declared the race finished and the standings as of the end of lap 13 stood.

Davison breaks Vodafone dominance

Will Davison stood on top of the podium for the first time since May, claiming race two of the ArmorAll Gold Coast 600 on Sunday. Winner of Saturday's race Jamie Whincup and Sebastien Bourdais finished second with Mark Winterbottom and Will Power in third.

After his win on Saturday Whincup has extended his lead in the championship from Winterbottom by 218 points.

Kiwis Shane van Gisbergen (with Jeroen Bleekemolen) and Fabian Coulthard (with Nicholas Minassian) finished ninth and 10th respectively.

A good result for Coulthard after his team worked on his wrecked all night. Van Gisbergen remains in fifth but Coulthard has slipped to 11th with three rounds to go.

The next race is in Abu Dhabi, November 2-4.

- NZ Herald

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