MotoGP: Championship Battle in the Rain of Sepang

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After providing three days of sunshine for the Sepang race track, the heavens opened up today with a downpour of rain 30 minutes before the commencement of the Malaysian GP. The change in weather caused the penultimate MotoGP race to be delayed by 45 minutes as everyone waited for the monsoon to abate to a drizzle. With riders having no reference for the wet Malaysian course, it seemed like all bets were off. Click past the jump for spoilers and more.

All eyes were of course trained on the first row, where Valentino Rossi sat on pole, just ahead of his teammate Jorge Lorenzo. Needing a strong finish, and a Rossi blunder, Lorenzo probably welcomed the rain, which was sure to take the edge off everyone’s game.

As the riders got away, Rossi had a strong start, but ran wide in the first turn, and slipped back into 8th place. Dropping back a further two spots, Rossi would finish the first lap in 10th place, with Lorenzo just ahead of him. Looking to make up lost ground, the pair made their way through the field, with Lorenzo leading the way, while Rossi kept close tabs on the Spaniard.

Seven laps into the fray, Rossi finally made his move past Lorenzo, which was a nail biting moment as Rossi power-slid through the corner. Wet racing at its finest, Rossi quickly put a gap on Lorenzo of nearly a second’s time. Rossi would close in on Andrea Dovizioso, but before he could pass the fellow Italian, Dovi lost traction and slid out of the race.

Now in a podium position, Rossi has his sights set on Pedrosa, but held back knowing that he if maintained his current situation, he would lock up the MotoGP Championship.

Taking the race win was Casey Stoner, who took the lead from Dani Pedrosa half-way through the first lap. Stoner, clearly back in top form, put on a dominating show, finishing almost 15 seconds ahead of Pedrosa who finished second.

Rossi would finished third, followed 6 seconds later by Lorenzo. With these finishes, Rossi has now officially clinched the MotoGP Championship with a 41 point lead over Lorenzo. MotoGP now heads to Valencia, Spain in two weeks, where all eyes will be on Ben Spies, and how he’ll compare to the rest off the MotoGP field.

Race Results from MotoGP at the Australian GP at Phillip Island, Australia

Pos. No. Rider Manufacturer Time Diff
1 27 Casey STONER DUCATI 47’24.834
2 3 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 47’39.500 14.666
3 46 Valentino ROSSI YAMAHA 47’44.219 19.385
4 99 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 47’50.684 25.850
5 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 48’03.539 38.705
6 7 Chris VERMEULEN SUZUKI 48’05.895 41.061
7 24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 48’13.389 48.555
8 33 Marco MELANDRI KAWASAKI 48’20.391 55.557
9 65 Loris CAPIROSSI SUZUKI 48’25.137 1’00.303
10 36 Mika KALLIO DUCATI 48’25.274 1’00.440
11 44 Aleix ESPARGARO DUCATI 48’26.489 1’01.655
12 15 Alex DE ANGELIS HONDA 48’26.681 1’01.847
13 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 48’35.612 1’10.778
14 41 Gabor TALMACSI HONDA 48’40.685 1’15.851
15 52 James TOSELAND YAMAHA 49’15.506 1’50.672
Not Classified
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 31’59.321 7 laps
14 Randy DE PUNIET HONDA 2’28.718 20 laps