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GP Week : Issue 192
MOTOGP >>> nEWs at BrIEFly » Honda took Race Direction’s criticism and punishment for the Aragon traction-control failure on the chin, acknowledging failures of both hardware and software after the Marquez/Pedrosa collision. Repsol team technical director Takeo Yokoyama said: “In terms of the hardware, the sensor cable was exposed too much. We have added protection to that cable for this race. From the software side, of course we do have a back-up mode ... the bike is supposed to go into safety mode immediately. However the strategy was not perfect.” It had now been modified. » Australian substitute rider Damian Cudlin got a good roasting in the Malaysian race, precipitating premature retirement on the in-house Paul Bird Motorsport PBM CRT bike. His underseat exhaust sprang a leak “as though a bomb had gone off”, he said. The heat was “like sitting on a frying pan. I’ve got a bit of a roasted butt,” he laughed. » Cal Crutchlow’s troublesome arm injury flared up worryingly again in Malaysia, as the Monster Yamaha tries to ignore the pain and swelling. “There was some sort of explosion in my arm when I crashed at Silverstone,” he said. Attempts to drain it seemed to have helped somewhat at the last two races, but it swelled up again painfully at Sepang. The abrasion had also not yet healed. “It must be the heat” he said. HONOuR Is sERVED Dani Pedrosa’s third win of the season was poetic justice for the older Repsol Honda rider. Robbed of a potential win and his title chances two weeks before at Aragon as innocent victim of a freak accident, he deserved nothing less. He won it in fine style, snatching an early lead from fast starter Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), then riding with smooth mastery to thwart any potential attack from his own team-mate Marc Marquez, when he finally also disposed of the Yamaha. Marquez was clearly riding on the limit trying to catch up before thinking of the championship and settling for second ... but this time Pedrosa was stretching away remorselessly, looking relaxed and comfortable and saying afterwards: “Everything was good this weekend, and I really enjoyed riding at the front. It’s only a shame, because I had similar pace at Aragon. It could have been two wins in a row.” The highlight of the race was the battle between Lorenzo and Marquez. A grudge match had been building with the older rider increasingly critical of the championship leader’s rough riding. Now he took a different stance, and when Marquez first bullied past, he pushed directly ahead again. It happened several times over the course of two desperate laps, and Lorenzo hit the Honda rider at least once as he gave him a veteran’s lesson in tough tactics – though he said later he couldn’t remember having done so. Marquez had to pause to reflect, and work out a more mature and considered passing (though still typically ruthless) move – on lap nine of 20. Both enjoyed it enough for a warm hand - clasp on the slowing down lap. Rossi was fourth again, the second Yamaha rider taking comfort from at least being less than four seconds adrift of Lorenzo. Alvaro Bautista (FUN&GO Honda) finally had the legs to win out by inches after a strong to -and -fro battle with Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha), who had a strange problem. Using a power-up programme had cut his deficit in a straight line, but “the extra torque caused a lot of wheelspin, so it wasn’t good corner to corner, and I had a lot of big moments,” he said. Second Monster Yamaha man Bradley Smith was a lone but worthy seventh after a pursuing Nick Hayden (Marlboro Ducati) suffered a catastrophic engine blow-up on lap eight. Second Ducati man Andrea Dovizioso had been between them before running off and nearly crashing, recovering to regain eighth. Top CRT rider Aleix Espargaro (Power Electronics ART) was his last victim, ninth, with Yonny Hernandez a solid tenth in his second ride replacing Ben Spies on the Ignite Ducati. Marquez again improved his fingerhold on the championship, taking a lead of 43 points to Australia next weekend. He has 298 to Lorenzo’s 255, with Pedrosa gaining again on 244. Rossi has 198 and Crutchlow 166. 16 GPWEEK.com // 16 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: