Results Malaysian Grand Prix, Sepang, Malaysia2007-10-21 08:51
World Champion Stoner makes it perfect ten at Sepang
In what has become his trademark over the course of the season, 2007 MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner took a comfortable victory at today's Polini Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
Starting strong with the holeshot at the Sepang circuit, the factory Ducati rider knew how to hold off his challengers with knowledge gained over his title-winning year. The Australian had an answer for every challenge to his lead, clocking fast laps as and when his rivals came close. Stoner crossed the line with a 1.7 second advantage over Marco Melandri, having set a new circuit record in the latter stages of the race.
All three riders to start from the front row finished the race in the rostrum places, with important consequences for the trio. Stoner's tenth victory of the year makes him the first rider to win in all three classes in Malaysia, whilst Melandri broke his duck at one of only two tracks where he had never been on the podium. Most importantly for the World Championship, third placed Dani Pedrosa cut the gap between himself and Valentino Rossi for the runner-up spot to 24 points. The Spaniard now has to hope that his rival finishes out of the points at Valencia and that he wins his home race, something that he has yet to do in five attempts in MotoGP.
Melandri's second place puts him above John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen in the battle for fourth in the classification, with the three separated by just five points.
Randy de Puniet had a solid ride for fourth place at Sepang, unable to catch the top three but able to create a gap between himself and Rossi, who rode a solitary race onboard the Yamaha M1. Toni Elias completed the top six to keep himself fresh in the minds of those looking for an occupant for the three remaining MotoGP seats.
Vermeulen and Hopkins had an interesting inter-team battle, with the Suzuki riders dicing for points and bragging rights in front of 37,453 fans watching on from the grandstands. 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden came back from an excursion into the gravel on lap 12 to finish in the top ten, which was rounded off by Yamaha's Colin Edwards.
All 20 riders to start the race made it to the chequered flag, although De Puniet did not make it much further than that after running out of fuel on his slowdown lap. His team-mate Anthony West was penalised for starting from the wrong grid position with a ride-through penalty, which dropped him down the field after he had stuck with the top five riders early on.
The MotoGP World Championship returns to action in two weeks time for the final round of the 2007 season, the Gran Premio bwin.com de la Comunitat Valenciana.
Jorge Lorenzo retained his 250cc world title at Malaysia with third place in a fantastic quarter litre race, eventually won by poleman Hiroshi Aoyama on his KTM machine.
The Spaniard had a 45 point advantage over nearest rival Andrea Dovizioso at the start of the race, and it was his Italian challenger who took the early initiative by moving away from the pack. Reined in by lap nine, a breathtaking duel between Lorenzo, Dovizioso, Aoyama and Mika Kallio developed after a Lorenzo wobble allowed the KTM duo to close the gap, and the scene was set for a fight for personal pride.
A mistake from Kallio with just a lap and a half to go took Dovizioso out of the equation, in another heartbreaking twist to the Honda rider's season. Aoyama used the collision to power into first, taking his second win of the 2007 season and becoming the first KTM rider to finish a race at the Sepang circuit. Content to step onto the podium as 250cc World Champion, Lorenzo avoided any rash move on second placed Hector Barbera, and stepped onto the rostrum in third place after a Rocky-inspired celebration in pit lane.
An apologetic Kallio finished in fourth, ahead of fellow 250cc rookie Thomas Luthi and Julian Simon. In one of his best performances of the season, Roberto Locatelli came in seventh, trailed by team-mate Marco Simoncelli, Yuki Takahashi and Aleix Espargaro. Dovizioso picked up his bike to cross the line in eleventh, although Lorenzo's position would nonetheless have seen the Spaniard take the title even if the Kopron Team Scot man had have been victorious.
A mass celebration is expected at Lorenzo's home race in Valencia at the final round of the 250cc World Championship, where the factory Aprilia rider will make his final appearance in the category before his move to MotoGP with Yamaha.
Having headed into the penultimate round of the 125cc World Championship with just a single point separating himself and team-mate Hector Faubel, Gabor Talmacsi now has a little more space after a runaway victory at Sepang.
The Hungarian rider was untouchable after taking the lead on lap two, having started one place behind poleman Faubel. Talmacsi took advantage of a furious battle for second place to break away from the pack. Never looking back en route to the chequered flag, he now holds a ten second cushion in the classification.
Faubel eventually salvaged the situation with another podium finish, and rode a measured race as he aimed to avoid collisions with some of the hungrier members of the 125cc field. After several near-misses in a chaotic final few laps, the Spaniard managed to put himself up into third and, more importantly, avoided the DNF that would have gifted the title to Talmacsi. The title will now be decided at Valencia, Faubel's home race and the scene of his season-concluding victory last year.
Splitting up the Aspar team duo, Tomoyoshi Koyama continued his charge for third place in the championship. The Japanese rider took second place for the third time this season, and is 15 points ahead of Lukas Pesek in the classification after the Czech rider could only manage sixth place.
Joan Olive and Sergio Gadea also claimed top six finishes, and behind them the riders leapfrogged a place after a final lap crash by Sandro Cortese. The remainder of the top ten was comprised of Simone Corsi, Mattia Pasini, Bradley Smith and Alexis Masbou
Source: Dorna Communications
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