Three in a row for Pedrosa in Malaysian rainstorm
As a tropical rainstorm lashed the Sepang circuit in Malaysia, Dani Pedrosa emerged victorious yet again to score three wins in a row in front of his fellow countryman and Championship leader, Jorge Lorenzo. Consistent finishing from Lorenzo and a 23 point deficit in the championship mean that time is running out for Pedrosa's title hopes. He needs to win both of the remaining two rounds and hope that Lorenzo encounters some bad fortune.
Luck certainly had a part to play in this race. The rain became so intense and the conditions so dangerous that the race was red-flagged with only seven of the twenty laps remaining. This was too late to save several riders who had already succumbed to the extreme amounts of water on the circuit. Tech 3 riders Andrea Dovisioso and Cal Crutchlow, CRT runner Randy De Puniet, German rookie Stefan Bradl and Ben Spies all fell during the previous two laps. Lorenzo himself had a real scare on the red flag lap when his front wheel slid away as he applied the brakes at the end of the straight. At a speed of over 100 mph he put his foot down and miraculously dragged the wheel back in line before reaching the corner. The wet race was a real leveller and some of the Moto GP riders failed to keep pace with the top running CRT bikes. Consequently Aleix Espargaro and British rider James Ellison came in 8th and 9th respectively, Ellison's best finish of the season.
The demise of Randy DePuniet now gives Aleix Espargaro a healthy CRT Championship lead. The Ducati pairing of American Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi also benefited, finishing an excellent 4th and 5th respectively. It is well known that in dry conditions that the Ducati is no match for the Yamaha and Honda Moto GP bikes due to ongoing front-end chatter and grip problems.
After a cautious start Casey Stoner was also thwarted by the red flag. He had gradually built up his momentum and was rapidly catching Jorge Lorenzo for second place when the heavy rain deprived us all of the mouth-watering prospect of a Stoner/Lorenzo fight for second place over the last few laps. He had to settle for 3rd which sees Stoner strengthen his third place ranking in the Championship. With Australia's Phillip Island - Casey's favourite track - next week, we can hope to see him back to his best form.
Earlier in the day the Moto 3 race was won by German Sandro Cortese with a last corner overtake on teammate and local Malaysian rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin, something which greatly displeased the partisan crowd. With this result Cortese now takes the Moto 3 World 2012 Championship crown home to Germany.
In a rain lashed Moto 2 race, which was also shortened by horrendous conditions, young British rider Gino Rea took a fine 3rd podium spot behind winner Alex De Angelis and second placed Australian Anthony West.