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2015 Malaysian motorcycle Grand Prix

The 2015 Malaysian motorcycle Grand Prix (formally the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix) was the seventeenth (and penultimate round) of eighteen motorcycle races of the 2015 MotoGP season. It was held before a crowd of 88,832 people at the Sepang International Circuit in the Malaysian district of Sepang in Selangor on 25 October 2015. Dani Pedrosa of Honda won the 20-lap race after starting from pole position. Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo finished second and his teammate Valentino Rossi came in third. In the junior classes, Johann Zarco won the Moto2 race on a Kalex bike and KTM's Miguel Oliveira won in Moto3.

Malaysia  2015 Malaysian Grand Prix
Race details
Race 17 of 18 races in the
2015 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season
Sepang.svg
Date25 October 2015
Official nameShell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix[1][2][3]
LocationSepang International Circuit
Course
  • Permanent racing facility
  • 5.543 km (3.444 mi)
MotoGP
Pole position
Rider Spain Dani Pedrosa Honda
Time 1:59.053
Fastest lap
Rider Spain Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha
Time 2:00.606 on lap 2
Podium
First Spain Dani Pedrosa Honda
Second Spain Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha
Third Italy Valentino Rossi Yamaha
Moto2
Pole position
Rider Switzerland Thomas Lüthi Kalex
Time 2:06.383
Fastest lap
Rider Switzerland Thomas Lüthi Kalex
Time 2:07.321 on lap 2
Podium
First France Johann Zarco Kalex
Second Switzerland Thomas Lüthi Kalex
Third Germany Jonas Folger Kalex
Moto3
Pole position
Rider Italy Niccolò Antonelli Honda
Time 2:12.653
Fastest lap
Rider South Africa Brad Binder KTM
Time 2:13.571 on lap 3
Podium
First Portugal Miguel Oliveira KTM
Second South Africa Brad Binder KTM
Third Spain Jorge Navarro Honda

Pedrosa won the pole position by recording the fastest lap in qualifying and maintained his start line advantage going into the first corner. The race was however, was overshadowed by the three-lap duel for third place between Honda rider Marc Márquez and his rival Rossi as the two traded position several times per lap. The tension between the two was high when Márquez and Rossi duelled each other in Argentina and the Netherlands and Rossi accused Márquez of helping teammate Lorenzo in Australia which both riders denied. The duel ended with Márquez and Rossi colliding at fourteen on lap seven. Although Rossi continued, Márquez fell from his bike and retired in the pit lane after remounting on his bike. Pedrosa meanwhile led every lap to take his second victory of the season, his 28th in MotoGP and the 51st of his career by almost four seconds over Lorenzo. Rossi was issued three penalty points and was required to start from the rear of the grid at the season-ending Valencian Community Grand Prix since he had another penalty point from earlier in the season and he withdrew a subsequent appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport in December 2015.

In the junior classes, Thomas Lüthi started from pole position in Moto2 with a new class lap record. Lüthi and Zarco traded places on the first lap and then both riders were able to establish a small advantage at the front of the field. Zarco began closing up to Lüthi with seven laps left but Lüthi responded by seeing a pit board message that encouraged him to increase his pace. Zarco however conserved the life of his tyres in the closing stages of the race and passed Lüthi at turn two on the final lap to win for the eighth time in the season. Niccolò Antonelli began the Moto3 race from pole position but got involved in a multi-rider duel which had the lead swapped hands in almost every lap of the round. In the end, Miguel Oliveira ended up drafting his teammate Brad Binder on the back straight and overtook him at the final corner. Oliviera fended Binder off to win his fifth race of the season. Danny Kent had the possibility to win the Riders' Championship at Sepang if he came fifth regardless where Oliviera came but was unable to do so when he took seventh.

The consequence of the race meant Lorenzo was now trailing Rossi by seven points in the Riders' Championship and Márquez retained third place despite his retirement. Pedrosa's victory allowed him to move into fourth after Andrea Iannone retired from a punctured radiator on the second lap of the race. In the Teams' Championship, Yamaha increased their unassailable lead to 200 points over Honda and Ducati retained third despite both their riders not reaching the end of the event. Tech 3 and Suzuki completed the top five. Yamaha still led the Constructors' Championship on 382 points; Honda and Ducati were second and third with one round left in the season.

ReportEdit

BackgroundEdit

 
An aerial photograph of the Sepang International Circuit in 2016.

The 2015 Malaysian motorcycle Grand Prix was announced as part of MotoGP's 2015 schedule by the world governing body of motorcycle racing, the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) in September 2014.[4] It was the twenty-fifth consecutive Grand Prix to be held in Malaysia and the sixteenth straight race at the fifteen-turn 5.543 km (3.444 mi) Sepang International Circuit.[5] The Grand Prix was the seventeenth scheduled round of the 2015 MotoGP season by FIM and was held on 25 October after two preceding days of practice and qualifying.[4] With forest fires continuing to burn in neighboring Indonesia, heavy smog was a concern for the race.[6] Unhealthy levels affected the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix two months earlier and Sepang International Circuit managing director Razlan Razali negotiated with MotoGP's promoter Dorna Sports and the International Road Racing Teams Association about shortening the meeting if required.[7] It was later confirmed that the event would proceed without any restrictions due to the championship situation,[8] and monitoring equipment was installed at the circuit to measure the local air quality.[9]

Coming into the race from Australia one week earlier, Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi was leading the Riders' Championship with 296 points and his nearest championship rival was teammate Jorge Lorenzo was a further eleven points behind in second. Repsol Honda's Marc Márquez placed third with 222 points and Andrea Iannone of Ducati followed in fourth with 188 points. Dani Pedrosa, the second Honda factory rider, rounded out the top five with 165 points.[10] In the Teams' Championship, Yamaha MotoGP topped the standings with 581 points. Repsol Honda (392 points) and Ducati (341) were closer to each other in the battle for second while Tech 3 and Suzuki MotoGP completed the top five with 254 and 172 points respectively.[10] Yamaha led the Constructors' Championship with 362 points: Honda, Ducati, Suzuki and Yamaha Forward followed in the next four placings with a respective 310, 237, 120 and 33 points accrued.[10] 50 points were available for the final two rounds of the season which meant Rossi could win his eighth MotoGP championship in Sepang. Rossi needed to score fifteen more points than Lorenzo if the latter finished sixth or lower.[11]

The tension was high between Rossi and Márquez going into the weekend because the duo had engaged in a battle at the Argentine Grand Prix that left Márquez crashing out of the race after colliding with the rear of Rossi's bike and the Dutch TT later that year when the pair got involved in a duel for the win that ended in Rossi's favour despite a collision with Márquez at the track's final chicane on the final lap of the event.[12] In the pre-race press conference, Rossi accused Márquez of aiding his championship rival Lorenzo in Australia which both riders denied. Rossi continued and stated his belief Márquez was not a fan of his when growing up, a comment that angered Márquez.[12][13] Meanwhile, Pedrosa aimed to return to the podium after stating his happiness over his fifth-place finish at the Australian Grand Prix and wanted to give himself the best opportunity of securing a strong result and noted the physical and mental demands placed on the rider due to Malaysia's warm climate.[14]

Practice and qualifyingEdit

Four practice sessions – two for both Friday and Saturday – were held before the race on Sunday. The first two on Friday ran for 45 minutes each with a third identically timed practice session held on Saturday morning. The final session on Saturday afternoon lasted half an hour.[15] Pedrosa set the fastest time of the first practice session in hot weather conditions early on with a two minutes and 00.412 seconds lap. Lorenzo followed two-seconds of a second adrift in second and Márquez followed in third. The rest of the top ten was completed by Rossi, Scott Redding, Cal Crutchlow, Iannone, Héctor Barberá, Aleix Espargaró and Andrea Dovizioso.[16] The track had a large amount of dust but had just two riders crash in the final twelve minutes: Crutchlow went off at turn five while Alvaro Bautista fell off his bike at the turn fifteen hairpin; both incidents occurred concurrently and the duo returned to the pit lane to mount onto their spare bikes.[17] In the second practice session, Lorenzo recorded the fastest lap of the day at two minutes and 00.246 seconds with four minutes remaining. His fellow Spaniards Pedrosa and Márquez were second and third. Iannone, Crutchlow, Aleix Espargaró, Dovizioso, Danilo Petrucci and Redding followed in the top ten. The sole incident of second practice happened seven minutes in when Iannone crashed at turn eight.[18]

Hazy weather conditions continued to affect Sepang heading into the third practice session which had Lorenzo improve on his previous best time from the day prior to record the fastest lap of the weekend so far late in practice at one minute and 59.544 seconds with Márquez following 0.142 seconds behind in second. Pedrosa was third-fastest, Rossi placed fourth and Barberá fifth. Crutchlow, Aleix Espargaró, Dovizioso, Pol Espargaró and Maverick Viñales occupied positions six through ten. Late in the session, Petrucci lost control of the front of his bike and crashed out at turn seven. Petrucci was unhurt.[19] Pedrosa topped the time sheets in the fourth practice session with a lap time of two minutes and 00.471 seconds. Márquez was 0.322 seconds slower in second place and Iannone was running stronger and set the third-fastest lap. Lorenzo was fourth-quickest; Rossi was fifth and Dovizioso sixth. Aleix Espargaró placed seventh, his brother Pol Espargaró was eighth, Redding ninth and Bradley Smith completed the top ten ahead of qualifying. The sole incident of the session occurred halfway through when the front of Lorenzo's bike got loose and slid into the gravel trap at the final corner.[20]

 
Marc Márquez qualified on the front row of the grid in second place during qualifying.

Saturday afternoon's qualifying session was divided into two parts. The two sessions lasted 15 minutes and had the slowest riders in the first three practice sessions compete in the first part with the second session composing the top ten quickest participants from the opening trio of practice sessions. The first session had the fastest two competitors progress into the second session which determined pole position through to twelfth.[15] While most riders opted for three timed runs, Pedrosa chose to perform two and ventured onto the track later so he would not be impeded by traffic. This enabled Pedrosa to clinch his first pole position of the season, his first since the 2014 Catalan Grand Prix, and broke Márquez's lap record of the Sepang International Circuit from the previous year with a time of one minute and 59.053 seconds.[21][22] He was joined on the front row of the grid by Márquez whose fastest lap was four-tenths of a second off Pedrosa's pace and avoided crashing on his second run after making a rider error.[21] Rossi joined the duo in third but was initially a second slower despite slipstreaming Iannone but achieved his fastest time without drafting anyone on his final attempt. Lorenzo was fourth after believing he had qualified in the top three and was observed riding towards parc fermé but was redirected to his garage.[23] Crutchlow secured fifth place in the closing minutes and demoted Iannone to sixth who had steering issues with his bike while Dovizioso took seventh. Viñales and Smith progressed into the second qualifying session, placing eighth and ninth and Barberá rounded out the top ten with his time matched by Aleix Espargaró who crashed in qualifying's closing seconds. Pol Espargaró was the slowest rider of the twelve that competed in the first qualifying session.[23][24]

Petrucci was the fastest driver not to progress beyond the first qualifying session; his fastest time of two minutes and 1.346 seconds was almost 2.3 seconds off Pedrosa's pace Stefan Bradl was 14th and he attributed this to a minor rider error at the final corner.[23][24] Redding struggled to locate the feel for his bike and lost some time on the two long straights for unknown reasons, restricting him to 15th.[24] 16th-place qualifier Jack Miller's bike caught fire and was thrown from it hike as the machine flipped over and rested in the turn seven gravel trap. Miller was unhurt.[25] Bautista took 17th place as he struggled with the grip of his bike while rider errors meant Yonny Hernández started the race from 18th position. Nicky Hayden slipstreamed up behind another bike but this did not significantly aid him enough to improve his best effort and took 19th while 20th-placed Loris Baz struggled with getting the correct amount of grip from his tyres and this meant he could not push any harder than he could. Similarly, his teammate Toni Elías secured 21st after he was unable to find the grip within his tyres on his first laps. Eugene Laverty was 22nd and Mike Di Meglio had issues with his front tyre that prevented him from pushing more aggressively and placed 23rd.[24] Australians Anthony West and Damian Cudlin occupied the final positions on the grid in 24th and 25th.[23]

Warm-upEdit

The riders took to the track in hot ambient and track temperatures at 09:40 Malaysian Standard Time (UTC–08:00) for a twenty-minute warm-up session.[15][26] Márquez continued his quick pace by setting the fastest lap of the session of two minutes and 00.186 seconds. He was 0.319 seconds quicker than Lorenzo in second. Rossi placed third with Pedrosa and Iannone fourth and fifth. Aleix Espargaró, Viñales, Crutchlow, Pol Espargaró and Dovizioso completed the top ten fastest riders.[26] Barberá clashed with the front wheel on Pol Espargaró's bike at turn one and both riders fell. Di Meglio crashed at turn five and could not get back to the pit lane despite escaping with no injuries. Miller crashed at turn nine with two minutes left and his session was ended prematurely.[26] After warm-up, race direction issued one penalty point to Barberá for his clash with Pol Espargaró. Barberá thus accumulated his fourth penalty point of the season, and he was ordered to start at the back of the grid.[27]

RaceEdit

The race began before a crowd of 88,832 people at 14:00 local time.[15][28] Weather conditions at the start of the race were dry and cloudy. The air temperature was 35 °C (95 °F) and the track temperature was 47 °C (117 °F);[29] a 30% probability of rain was forecast.[30] The Honda factory duo of Pedrosa and Márquez maintained the first two positions heading into the first corner with Rossi third.[31] Lorenzo made a poor getaway and was overtaken by the Ducatis of Dovizioso and Iannone but returned to fourth place after passing both riders at turn four.[30][32] Rossi used the slipstream of the factory Hondas to keep in the lead group but his teammate Lorenzo was close by.[31][33] Before the first lap ended, Cudlin lost control of the rear of his bike coming onto the back straight and crashed out of the Grand Prix.[34] Lorenzo out-braked teammate Rossi on the outside line into turn one to move into third at the start of the second lap. Lorenzo then prevented Rossi from retaking third by staying on the racing line and this caused Rossi to slow so he would avoid glancing Lorenzo's bike.[32][33] Further down the order, Bradl was passed by Crutchlow for seventh position.[33] Baz became the second retiree of the race when he crashed on the start of the same lap at turn one.[35]

Soon after, Iannone retired in the pit lane with a damaged radiator which was caused by another rider kicking up a stone with one of his tyres at the start of the race and it punctured a hole in the bike component.[35] Due to his crash in the warm-up session, Pol Espargaró was riding in severe pain with a fractured vertebrae and felt dizzy during certain points in the race which left him vulnerable to being overtaken by other riders.[27][36] This was evident when Crutchlow and Smith moved past him for sixth and seventh on the second and third laps.[33] Márquez was struggling to control the front of his bike and was losing ground to teammate Pedrosa and Lorenzo was closing up to him. Approaching turn four on lap three, Márquez made an mistake under braking and he skimmed along the edge of the rumble strips but managed to avoid running onto some grass. This enabled Lorenzo to overtake Márquez for second place and went about trying to reduce Pedrosa's advantage at the front of the field.[32] That same lap, Elías lost two positions when Barberá and Laverty got past him.[33] Rossi observed Márquez's error at turn four and was close behind him entering the final corner but could not affect a successful overtaking manoeuvre.[31][32]

 
Dani Pedrosa (pictured in 2016) started from pole position and led every lap of the race to claim his second victory of the season, his 28th in MotoGP and the 51st of his career.

Márquez went off the racing line into turn four and Rossi overtook him for third on lap four with the latter unable to respond.[31] Márquez then planned his counter-attack but continued to have problems with controlling the rear of his bike. Márquez began a duel that lasted three laps as he tried to retake third from Rossi at turn fifteen but went wide. At turn one at the start of lap five, Márquez did get past Rossi under braking but again ran wide which allowed Rossi to reclaim third. Márquez made a third passing try on Rossi entering turn four but the latter got back through when the former drifted wide.[30][31][32] Márquez got through at turn five but lost third four corners later with the position changing hands at each corner. Márquez ended up holding third over Rossi on the back straight and the two riders overtook each other a total of ten times on lap five.[31][33] Rossi's foot slipped three times off his footpeg but was able to regain control of his bike each time and avoid crashing.[32] Rossi barged Márquez at turn seven on lap six but Márquez out-braked Rossi at turn fourteen later in the lap.[31] Rossi grew increasingly frustrated with the battle for third and turned backwards to gesticulate to Márquez which was interpreted as a signal that the pair should stop duelling and slipstream one another to get back to Pedrosa and Lorenzo who were pulling away.[32][37]

After some close passes through the section of the track entering turn nine on lap seven, Rossi was on the inside line through the turn thirteen long-right hander with Márquez to his left.[32] Rossi appeared to slow deliberately and push Márquez ever wider as they went into turn fourteen.[32][38] This caused Rossi to adopt a jerky motion which had him adjust his bike's turning movements and position. Márquez was pushed off the racing line as he was pushed more wider by Rossi as he leaned in and the latter moved out after Rossi looked directly at Márquez. Doing this caused Márquez and Rossi to collide; Márquez's helmet hit Rossi's kneeslider, knocking his leg out of position, and subsequently contacted his handlebars.[37] Márquez spun and fell from his bike as he crashed lowside but remounted. Márquez then rode into the pit lane and retired from the Grand Prix.[38] Race direction announced on lap nine that the clash between Márquez and Rossi would be investigated after the race.[31]

On the eleventh lap,[33] Crutchlow (despite a brake lever problem) was battling Dovizioso for fourth position at turns five and six when the two made contact during the change of direction. Dovizioso fell from his bike and retired but accepted an apology from Crutchlow after the race.[35] Crutchlow later ran wide at the final corner on lap twelve, allowing Smith to overtake him for fourth place.[31][35] On lap thirteen, Hayden was passed by Elías for fifteenth place and Petrucci overtook Aleix Espargaró for seventh position three laps later. Bautista fell to thirteenth on the same lap when Hernández and Barberá moved past him while Miller overtook Hayden to move into sixteenth but Hayden reclaimed the place on the final lap.[33] Pedrosa opened his advantage at the front of the field to 3.6 seconds over Lorenzo and crossed the start/finish line after twenty laps to claim his second victory of the season, his 28th in MotoGP and the 51st of his career.[39] Rossi was third and Smith and Crutchlow were fourth and fifth. Petrucci, Aleix Espargaró, Viñales, Pol Espargaró, Bradl, Redding, Hernández, Barberá, Elías, Bautista, Hayden, Miller, Di Meglio, Laverty and West were the last of the classified finishers.[29]

Post-raceEdit

On the post-race podium, Lorenzo was booed by the crowd as he collected his second-place trophy and his teammate Rossi declined to speak to the media in the later press conference.[40] Lorenzo then proceeded to leave the podium and later explained to the press that this was not because of the booing but due to him suffering from exhaustion from the high ambient temperatures and humidity that is often dealt with in Malaysia.[41] Two weeks later at the season-ending Valencian Community Grand Prix, Lorenzo apologised for appearing to make a thumbs down gesture at teammate Rossi on the podium, "I regret that. It's not a sporting example, especially for young people watching MotoGP around the world."[42] Pedrosa spoke about his happiness over taking his second victory of the season and stated that he set-up his bike similar to that of the pre-season test session at Sepang in February, "We had a good feeling from Friday, we were able to manage the weekend well and above all we had a bike that worked very well during every practice.", and, "I am especially pleased to finish the season very positively, as it has been a hard year but we are now recovering well and we’re in good form."[43]

 
Valentino Rossi (pictured in 2010) was handed three penalty points on his race licence for his collision with Marc Márquez and lost an subsequent appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport which he withdrew in December 2015.

The collision between Rossi and Márquez at turn fourteen on lap seven overshadowed the race.[35] Márquez expressed his shock over what had happened and that he did not foresee it happening and was annoyed at being caught up in the crash. He stated his belief that Rossi had violated MotoGP regulations, "For me it doesn't matter if you are Valentino or another rider, [in] this type of incident you are out of control. To take a leg off and push another rider out, it is difficult think like this on the bike."[44] Rossi defended his actions, arguing that the collision was not done with malice and protested his innocence. He said that he did not regret the comments he made about Márquez and had lost all respect for Márquez and teammate Lorenzo due to the incident. Rossi also theorised that Marquez was still resentful from the incidents at the Argentine Grand Prix and the Dutch TT and that he was seeking revenge from what had happened, "He decided the championship and he made me lose the championship. I think that he will be very happy.”[45]

Race direction requested Rossi and Márquez to visit the stewards after the race where they provided testimony and video evidence was reviewed.[46] Both riders exchanged words in a heated confrontation with nothing of what was said disclosed to the media.[32] The stewards deemed Rossi to have "deliberately ran wide on Turn 14 in order to force another rider off line, resulting in contact causing the other rider to crash" and issued him three penalty points for transgressing Article 1.21.2 of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations and was ordered to start at the back of the grid for the Valencian Community Grand Prix because he already had another penalty point from earlier in the season.[46] After Yamaha had their appeal rejected by the FIM,[47] Rossi lodged one with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on 30 October and sought either the annulment or reduction of the penalty and it was suspended until the CAS heard his case.[48] Lawyers acting on Lorenzo's behalf filed a Request for Intervention three days later so they could act on his behalf but the CAS told them of their rejection of this move.[49] On 4 November, a preliminary hearing was held at the CAS headquarters in Lausanne and an order undertaken by CAS arbitrator Ulrich Haas dismissing the stay filed by Rossi meant his penalty stood.[50][51] Rossi told the CAS that he was withdrawing the appeal on 10 December and the case was susbequently closed.[52]

The result of the race meant Lorenzo reduced Rossi's advantage at the top of the Riders' Championship to seven points. Despite failing to finish the race, Márquez maintained third position with 222 points and his teammate Pedrosa moved past the non-finishing Iannone for fourth because of his victory.[10] Yamaha MotoGP increased their unassailable lead at the top of the Teams' Championship to 200 points over Repsol Honda. With Ducati unable to finish the Grand Prix, they fell further back from Repsol Honda with 341 points but still retained third position. Tech 3 and Suzuki MotoGP kept fourth and fifth with a respective 274 and 189 points.[10] Yamaha continued to lead the Constructors' Championship but their advantage over Honda had been lowered to 47 points. Ducati, Suzuki and Yamaha Forward completed the top five with round of the season left.[10]

Reaction to the Rossi–Márquez collisionEdit

Both Rossi and Márquez were criticized for their actions with former MotoGP riders Ben Spies, Jeremy McWilliams and retired World Superbike champion Troy Bayliss expressing their displeasure with the incident and that both riders were to blame.[53] Double MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner and retired World Superbike Champion Carl Fogarty were critical of Rossi's move and the penalty that was given, with both claiming that had any rider other than Rossi done the same thing, they would have been disqualified immediately.[53] Lorenzo also criticized the move by his teammate Rossi and said the penalty given to him afterwards was a case of receiving preferable treatment as the sport's biggest rider, "If another rider did what Valentino did today, he would do minimum a ride through, minimum a black flag, minimum a race of penalization. But it didn't happen, and I'm disappointed, very disappointed."[32] However, Franco Uncini, MotoGP's safety director, played down suggestions that Rossi's status had was influential in deciding the penalty and stated the severity of the incident called for a retrospective review rather than an imminent decision."[54]

Pedrosa was critical of Rossi's response to the collision and stated, "Valentino [is always] saying, well, this is racing, and racing is like this, and we should fight, and now he is changing his comment. A little bit of [a] contradiction at this moment of what he said then, and what he is saying now."[32] Fifteen-time World Champion Giacomo Agostini told Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport that Rossi had fallen into Márquez's trap which led him to believe he was the more intelligent rider and that the reaction given to him by Márquez during the race was an expected one, " I’m convinced that Valentino was angry, exhausted and frustrated, but until that turn it had been a great fight. But Valentino was surprised. He is a great professional."[55] Michael Laverty criticised Márquez on Twitter, "Marc [Marquez] broke the unwritten rule, always respect those fighting for a championship when you're not"[53] with Colin Edwards expressing a similar statement.[53]

 
FIM president Vito Ippolito (pictured in 2017) wrote an open letter to the MotoGP community that said the Rossi-Márquez collision had "poisoned the atmosphere around the sport"

The FIM president Vito Ippolito wrote an open letter to the MotoGP community, saying the events had "a damaging effect on the staging of our competitions and poisoned the atmosphere around the sport", and, "We are moving away from the tradition of pride in sportsmanship that is part of the heritage of motorcycling."[56] Thirteen-time champion Ángel Nieto wrote to Rossi and Márquez and called for both riders to resume "the harmony and the respect that has characterised throughout your successful career, in which you were an idol for one another. Respect is something that you should never lose and It should be an example for the millions of fans who love the sport."[57] Carmelo Ezpeleta, the CEO of Dorna Sports, privately met with Lorenzo, Rossi and Márquez and later told the press at Valencia that Ippolito believed mistakes had been made and cooperation with the MotoGP community was needed to correct them, "We’ve done a lot of self-analysis and few people know the situation better than us. I've never had any qualms about accepting that when things go wrong, our mission is to try to see what we can do to improve things in the future.[58]

Reactions from the Formula One community were mixed. Four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel spoke of his belief that Rossi had committed no infraction and 2008 runner-up Felipe Massa apportioned blame onto Rossi whom he felt made a mistake.[59] Figures from the political world also had their say with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy tweeting, "In sport as in politics, not everything is permissible",[60] and the Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Renzi telephoned Rossi to offer his support.[60] Members of the media also came under scrutiny by creating allegations that Lorenzo stormed into the Race Direction hearing and pleaded that Rossi be disqualified and "launched into a tirade". Lorenzo then wrote on Twitter and debunked the allegations by stating he was at the press conference with Pedrosa and that the alleged tirade could have never existed. The members of the media that posted the articles later retracted and deleted their statements.[61]

The Spanish press were critical of Rossi's actions and fans on social media compared it to those committed by Italian defender Mauro Tassotti who elbowed Luis Enrique during the quarter-finals of the 1994 FIFA World Cup and the kick to the chest committed by defensive midfielder Nigel de Jong on central midfielder Xabi Alonso in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final.[62] Journalist Mat Oxley summarised the controversy in a self-penned article for Motor Sport,[13]

Many people believe that [Rossi's] actions were justified because of Marquez’s onslaught, just as many believe Zinedine Zidane was justified in head-butting an opponent in the 2006 World Cup Final, or that David Beckham was justified in kicking another player in the 1998 World Cup. But you can’t do that."

Moto2Edit

Entering the Moto2 race, Petronas AHM Malaysia announced that they would field Ramdan Rosli as a wild card rider, the third time he raced under this method in Grand Prix motorcycle racing.[63] Esteve Rabat missed the race as he was recovering from a broken radius in his left arm.[64] Thomas Lüthi was in the top three in all trio of practice sessions and carried his strong form into qualifying where he took his eighth career pole position with a time of two minutes and 6.383 seconds and no one could better his effort because of rain. Lüthi's time eclipsed Pol Espargaro's class lap record of the Sepang International Circuit in 2012. Moto2 champion Johann Zarco joined Lüthi on the front row of the grid and Álex Rins started alongside the two in third.[24] Lüthi held the lead going into the first corner. Although he lost the position to Zarco at turn four, Lüthi retook it at the final turn. Lüthi then tried to created a small advantage at the front of the field with Zarco close by. Both riders successfully opened up a healthy lead at the front of the pack and Lüthi's advantage over Zarco was up to one second by the start of lap eleven. With seven laps to go, Zarco lowered Lüthi's lead to half a second but it returned to one second three laps later when Lüthi received a message on his pit board encouraging him to increase his pace.[64]

Zarco conserved the life of his tyres and began reducing Lüthi's lead in preparation for a final attack on him for the victory with three laps remaining.[65] The lead was down to two-tenths of a second at the start of the final lap and Zarco took first from Lüthi at turn two.[64] Zarco then fended off a comeback from Lüthi and held the lead for the rest of the race to secure the tenth victory of his career by half a second and he equalled Rabat and Márquez's joint record of the number of Moto2 podiums scored in one season with his fourteenth of 2015.[64][65] Jonas Folger was battling Rins for third until the latter crashed at turn nine on lap ten and was untroubled thereafter.[64] Takaaki Nakagami was a distant fourth and overtook Lorenzo Baldassarri in the closing laps of the race to demote him to fifth. Luis Salom found some pace around the same period of the event to claim sixth. The top ten was completed by Sandro Cortese, Hafizh Syahrin, Simone Corsi and Xavier Siméon. Axel Pons came eleventh after coming close to passing Siméon on the final lap with Mika Kallio twelfth.[65] Thirteenth-placed and Sam Lowes struggled with grip in the race's closing stages which lost him five seconds per lap,[65][66] and Ricard Cardús and Franco Morbidelli were the final two points scorers.[65] Álex Márquez and Marcel Schrötter were the other retirements of the race due to separate crashes within the first nine laps.[64]

Moto3Edit

Going into the weekend in Moto3, Danny Kent needed to finish in the top five regardless of where his championship rival Miguel Oliviera came or finish ahead of the latter in order to clinch the Riders' Championship and become the first British rider to do since Barry Sheene in 1977.[67] Andrea Locatelli withdrew after injuring his coccyx in the first practice session and his fellow Italian Alessandro Tonucci was ruled unfit to compete after crashing in the second practice session.[68] Heavy traffic affected qualifying and pole position was taken by Niccolò Antonelli for the third time in his career and his second of the season with a time of two minutes and 12.653 seconds. Antonelli was joined on the front row of the grid by Jorge Navarro in second and Oliviera in third. Kent took sixth but he was demoted to ninth after being found to ride slowly on the racing line due to him being unable to draft other riders.[24][69] Oliviera made the best start in the field but was involved in a multi-rider battle involving Brad Binder, Navarro, Antonelli, Romano Fenati, Francesco Bagnaia and Jakub Kornfeil. Meanwhile, Kent fell seven places to be 16th at the end of the first lap but began recovering lost ground when some riders, including his teammates Hiroki Ono and Efrén Vázquez, clashed with each other and was in seventh place behind Antonelli by lap nine.[68][70][71]

The lead swapped hands repeatedly almost every lap as the race drew on because of the slipstream effect down the two long straights of the circuit.[68][71] With three laps remaining, Kent's recovery was helped when Bagania crashed at the final corner and nudged Antonelli wide to move into fifth the lap after and it appeared that he would win the championship. As the field began the final lap, Kent overtook Fenati for fourth at the first turn but was exposed to Antonelli who retook fifth shortly after. Kent then got back past Antonelli at the fourth corner but the latter responded by re-passing him at turn nine. The race was decided in the final moments when Oliviera drafted Binder on the back straight and passed him at the final corner. Oliviera successfully fended Binder off to clinch his fifth victory of the season and his second in a row. Navarro took third, Antonelli finished fourth for the second consecutive race, Fenati placed fifth and Kornfeil was sixth. Kent ran wide at the final corner and took seventh which meant he was now 24 points ahead of Oliviera and the championship would be decided at the season-closing round at Valencia and Kent needed to score two points to win the title. Enea Bastianini was four seconds behind Kent in eighth and Alexis Masbou and John McPhee rounded out the top ten.[68][70][72]

ClassificationEdit

MotoGPEdit

Pos. No. Rider Team Manufacturer Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 26   Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team Honda 20 40:37.691 1 25
2 99   Jorge Lorenzo Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 20 +3.612 4 20
3 46   Valentino Rossi Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 20 +13.724 3 16
4 38   Bradley Smith Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 20 +23.995 9 13
5 35   Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Honda 20 +28.721 5 11
6 9   Danilo Petrucci Octo Pramac Racing Ducati 20 +36.372 12 10
7 41   Aleix Espargaró Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 20 +39.290 10 9
8 25   Maverick Viñales Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 20 +39.436 8 8
9 44   Pol Espargaró Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 20 +42.462 11 7
10 6   Stefan Bradl Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 20 +44.601 13 6
11 45   Scott Redding EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 20 +47.690 14 5
12 68   Yonny Hernández Octo Pramac Racing Ducati 20 +52.112 17 4
13 8   Héctor Barberá Avintia Racing Ducati 20 +52.360 25 3
14 24   Toni Elías Forward Racing Yamaha Forward 20 +53.619 20 2
15 19   Álvaro Bautista Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 20 +53.631 16 1
16 69   Nicky Hayden Aspar MotoGP Team Honda 20 +1:01.431 18
17 43   Jack Miller LCR Honda Honda 20 +1:02.828 15
18 63   Mike Di Meglio Avintia Racing Ducati 20 +1:05.075 22
19 50   Eugene Laverty Aspar MotoGP Team Honda 20 +1:09.877 21
20 13   Anthony West AB Motoracing Honda 20 +1:24.749 23
Ret 4   Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team Ducati 10 Accident Damage 7
Ret 93   Marc Márquez Repsol Honda Team Honda 7 Collision Damage 2
Ret 76   Loris Baz Forward Racing Yamaha Forward 2 Accident Damage 19
Ret 29   Andrea Iannone Ducati Team Ducati 1 Radiator 6
Ret 55   Damian Cudlin E-Motion IodaRacing Team ART 0 Accident 24
Sources:[73][74][75]

Moto2Edit

Pos. No. Rider Manufacturer Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 5   Johann Zarco Kalex 19 40:37.772 2 25
2 12   Thomas Lüthi Kalex 19 +0.598 1 20
3 94   Jonas Folger Kalex 19 +9.846 4 16
4 30   Takaaki Nakagami Kalex 19 +14.139 7 13
5 7   Lorenzo Baldassarri Kalex 19 +16.440 5 11
6 39   Luis Salom Kalex 19 +22.294 13 10
7 11   Sandro Cortese Kalex 19 +22.708 6 9
8 55   Hafizh Syahrin Kalex 19 +26.685 18 8
9 3   Simone Corsi Kalex 19 +28.556 11 7
10 19   Xavier Siméon Kalex 19 +30.081 10 6
11 49   Axel Pons Kalex 19 +30.873 16 5
12 36   Mika Kallio Speed Up 19 +31.787 14 4
13 22   Sam Lowes Speed Up 19 +33.844 8 3
14 88   Ricard Cardús Suter 19 +33.886 24 2
15 21   Franco Morbidelli Kalex 19 +38.087 19 1
16 25   Azlan Shah Kalex 19 +41.612 15
17 4   Randy Krummenacher Kalex 19 +42.239 23
18 96   Louis Rossi Tech 3 19 +44.576 22
19 70   Robin Mulhauser Kalex 19 +46.312 21
20 57   Edgar Pons Kalex 19 +49.357 26
21 2   Jesko Raffin Kalex 19 +56.476 28
22 97   Xavi Vierge Tech 3 19 +1:17.119 25
23 16   Joshua Hook Kalex 19 +1:18.343 29
24 93   Ramdan Rosli Kalex 19 +1:18.534 30
25 60   Julián Simón Speed Up 19 +1:20.599 12
26 66   Florian Alt Suter 19 +1:37.028 27
27 10   Thitipong Warokorn Kalex 19 +1:51.965 20
Ret 40   Álex Rins Kalex 9 Accident 3
Ret 23   Marcel Schrötter Tech 3 8 Accident Damage 17
Ret 73   Álex Márquez Kalex 5 Accident Damage 9
Source:[76]

Moto3Edit

Pos. No. Rider Manufacturer Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 44   Miguel Oliveira KTM 18 40:33.277 3 25
2 41   Brad Binder KTM 18 +0.089 15 20
3 9   Jorge Navarro Honda 18 +0.273 2 16
4 23   Niccolò Antonelli Honda 18 +0.305 1 13
5 5   Romano Fenati KTM 18 +0.416 5 11
6 84   Jakub Kornfeil KTM 18 +0.530 4 10
7 52   Danny Kent Honda 18 +0.590 9 9
8 33   Enea Bastianini Honda 18 +4.004 8 8
9 10   Alexis Masbou Honda 18 +6.990 19 7
10 17   John McPhee Honda 18 +10.030 12 6
11 95   Jules Danilo Honda 18 +16.128 28 5
12 88   Jorge Martín Mahindra 18 +18.995 13 4
13 29   Stefano Manzi Mahindra 18 +18.999 16 3
14 32   Isaac Viñales KTM 18 +19.129 18 2
15 65   Philipp Öttl KTM 18 +19.153 17 1
16 48   Lorenzo Dalla Porta Husqvarna 18 +19.592 23
17 21   Francesco Bagnaia Mahindra 18 +32.053 6
18 6   María Herrera Husqvarna 18 +32.882 24
19 11   Livio Loi Honda 18 +32.924 25
20 58   Juan Francisco Guevara Mahindra 18 +33.307 22
21 24   Tatsuki Suzuki Mahindra 18 +34.453 26
22 2   Remy Gardner Mahindra 18 +55.705 31
23 22   Ana Carrasco KTM 18 +57.562 29
24 16   Andrea Migno KTM 18 +1:46.290 27
25 91   Gabriel Rodrigo KTM 17 +1 lap 20
Ret 98   Karel Hanika KTM 6 Accident 14
Ret 96   Manuel Pagliani Mahindra 6 Accident 30
Ret 7   Efrén Vázquez Honda 5 Accident 7
Ret 76   Hiroki Ono Honda 5 Accident 11
Ret 63   Zulfahmi Khairuddin KTM 5 Accident Damage 10
Ret 40   Darryn Binder Mahindra 2 Retirement 21
DNS 19   Alessandro Tonucci Mahindra Did not start
DNS 55   Andrea Locatelli Honda Did not start
Source:[77]

Championship standings after the race (MotoGP)Edit

Below are the standings for the top five riders and constructors after round seventeen has concluded.[78]

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for all sets of standings.

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2015 Australian Grand Prix
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2015 Valencian Grand Prix
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2014 Malaysian Grand Prix
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2016 Malaysian Grand Prix