Marc Marquez wins at MotoGP Sepang

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez equalled Mick Doohan’s premier-class record of twelve wins in one season after the newly-crowned MotoGP champion won a gruelling battle in sweltering conditions at Sepang International Circuit. After smashing the outright lap record yesterday during qualifying, Marquez set a new Sepang Circuit Record Lap time of 2’01.150 on lap two as he battled with the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP duo of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo at the front of the field. Lorenzo led for the opening nine laps of the race before being passed in quick succession by first Rossi and then Marquez, but the 2014 World Champion seized the race lead just a couple of laps later. Marquez ultimately won the race 2.445 seconds ahead of Rossi, while Lorenzo crossed the finish line in third place a further second behind.

Conditions at Sepang were once again extremely hot today, with a peak track temperature of 55°C during the race making today’s contest the warmest Malaysian Grand Prix in the past few years. Front tyre choice for the race saw fourteen of the twenty-two starters select the medium compound front slick, with the remaining eight riders opting for the hard compound front slick. For the rear tyre, thirteen riders – including all Factory Ducati, Honda and Yamaha riders selected the medium compound rear slick and nine riders selected the soft compound rear which was only available to the Ducati and Open-class riders at Sepang.

With just one round remaining, Marquez’s twelfth win of the season sees his points total swell to 337 points, while Rossi’s second place at Sepang sees his lead in the championship standings over teammate Lorenzo grow to twelve points.

Marc Marquez

“This was one of the toughest races of the year for me physically and I’m happy to have equalled Mick Doohan’s record! We knew to expect this kind of weather in Malaysia but it was especially hot today and we all found it hard to finish the race. Halfway into the race the pace slowed down because I think everybody needed to take a breath! I’m happy with how I handled the race, because the first corner was a bit of a nightmare but I was able to come back to the front and stay there, whilst I cooled down my tyres and brakes. I started to attack with 10 laps remaining, then made the difference when there were 5 laps to go.”

Valentino Rossi

“This race is the most difficult race for the riders but I felt good with my preparations. This means I have worked well. The second place is positive for me because we struggled much during the weekend and I wasn’t very strong. This morning we improved the bike and once again in the afternoon. The bike was perfect for the race. I fought a lot and I enjoyed the fight with Jorge and also the battle with Marc at the end. At one moment I thought I could win, but unfortunately Marc was a little bit too fast. The best way to think of the second place for the championship is to try and fight for the podium. That’s my target, but Valencia is a difficult track for me. In the past I struggled there a lot, so this year I want to try the maximum. I want to be competitive on Sunday and try to arrive on the podium.”

Jorge Lorenzo

“This race was very difficult. It was probably the hottest race in Malaysia in the whole 12 years that I have competed. I made a good start and was very brave on the first lap. I pushed at the maximum for the first seven to ten laps, but little by little trying to get the bike stopped was getting worse and worse. Valentino was really fast and during the second part of the race he was able to keep the same pace that I had at the beginning. It was very difficult to ride and fight. I wasn’t as fit as in Silverstone or Misano. These three weeks outside of Europe I’ve not trained hard enough, so I wasn’t as quick.”

MotoGP Sepang 2014 results

1. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 40’45.523
2. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP + 2.445
3. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP + 3.508
4. Stefan Bradl (GER) LCR Honda MotoGP + 21.234
5. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 + 22.283
6. Pol Espargarò (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech3 + 34.668
7. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Energy T.I. Pramac Racing + 38.435
8. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team + 48.839
9. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing + 50.792
10. Scott Redding (GBR) Go&Fun Honda Gresini + 59.088
11. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Drive M7 Aspar + 1’15.949
12. Michael Laverty (GBR) Paul Bird Motorsport + 1’17.966
13. Mike Di Meglio (FRA) Avintia Racing + 1’27.773
14. Brok Parkes (AUS) Paul Bird Motorsport + 1’44.244
15. Alex De Angelis (RSM) NGM Forward Racing Not classified (1 laps)
16. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo IodaRacing Team Not classified (6 laps)
17. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team Not classified (8 laps)
18. Karel Abraham (CZE) Cardion AB Motoracing Not classified (9 laps)
19. Nicky Hayden (USA) Drive M7 Aspar Not classified (14 laps)
20. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Ducati Team Not classified (16 laps)
21. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) NGM Forward Racing Not classified (19 laps)
22. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Go&Fun Honda Gresini Not classified (19 laps)