Stoner Wins at Sepang, as Rossi Becomes World Champion

What a fantastic race! The Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix had it all, drama, action, suspense and it showcased two winners as well.

The race starting time was delayed by 35 minutes due to heavy rain. The riders were allowed to exit the pits after 20 minutes in order to assess the track conditions and their bikes’ handling. Jorge Lorenzo had problems with his first bike and waited for his crew to prepare him his backup Yamaha. When they finally did that, he entered the track only seconds before the stewards would declare the pit lane closed.

Unfortunately the Spaniard didn’t like his bike’s setup and even though the pit lanes were closed, he decided to pit back and have his mechanics adjust the bike. This meant he missed the formation lap and had to start last from the pit lane, leaving on open space on the grid.

The race started with plenty of water on the track, because the high levels of humidity from Sepang prevented the track from drying out efficiently. Dani Pedrosa had a very good start from third and before the first corner he was side by side with Valentino Rossi, but the Italian went wide and lost six positions on the grid.

A few turns later in the same first lap, Casey Stoner managed to overtake Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo to infiltrate in the pack right behind Valentino Rossi.

On the soaking track Hayate Kawasaki’s Marco Melandri proved to be very competitive, but it was Casey Stoner that looked unbeatable. The Australian seemed to be in a league of his own, distancing himself 6 seconds from second place Dani Pedrosa after just 3 laps.

Jorge Lorenzo managed to pass Melandri and Rossi, but the two Italians both fought back offering a sensational spectacle in the wet.

As the laps counted, Stoner looked very much in control of the race, while Andrea Dovizioso in third place began to close the gap on his fellow Honda works rider, Dani Pedrosa.

As the track dried out, the riders felt more comfortable and pushed harder. This saw Randy de Puniet going out the track and Marco Melandri not being able to keep the pace with the other competitors.

Meanwhile Rossi overtook Lorenzo and both pushed really hard to get behind the two Honda factory bikes in second and third place respectively. Next came Dovizioso’s mistake and Rossi seemed for a short while to be able to take on Pedrosa’s second place, but the Italian focused on taking as few risks as necessary.

Stoner crossed the finish line first in a race which he clearly dominated, but Rossi stole the show from the Australian, achieving his ninth world championship and seventh MotoGP title of career.
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