Dani Pedrosa put on an outstanding show at the Malaysian Grand Prix to take first place, starting from pole position and leading every lap from then on.
However, the Honda rider’s solid performance was, in some ways, overshadowed by an intense battle for third between Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez.
With Pedrosa controlling the front and Jorge Lorenzo sitting comfortably in second, their clash in the fifth lap sparked controversy.
After swapping positions numerous times, on the 14th turn Rossi extended his leg into his rival’s bike and caused him to crash out of the race. He was sanctioned with three penalty points and will be starting the final MotoGP race of the season from the back of the grid.
Marquez said he was “disappointed” by the incident.
“I’ve never seen anything like it: a rider kicking another rider,” he said. “It might be down to nerves, but I want to try to forget about all this and the important thing is that I'm fine physically. I hope, for the sake of the sport that this ends here.”
Despite the unpleasant feeling that shrouded the podium, nothing could dampen Pedrosa’s spirits.
“It was a really tough race physically, as the conditions were extremely hot and the track is very demanding,” Pedrosa said.
“All weekend my pace was very good so I think my team did a good job and I’m happy that I could win the race and share it with them and all my supporters.”
“We are progressing well and I’m very happy with the victory today and I’ll try to finish the season in the same way.”
Bridgestone’s medium compound front and rear slicks were by far the most popular choice for riders, suiting the hot, humid conditions characteristic of the Sepang International Circuit.
“After the outright lap record for Sepang was broken yesterday, we could see that the riders were able to ride at a very quick pace during the race on our 2015 specification tyres, with a new race lap record and overall race time being set,” said Masao Azuma, Chief Engineer – Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department.
“Overall it was a good weekend for Bridgestone and we now look forward to finishing the season on another positive note at Valencia.”
MotoGP fans are eagerly anticipating what is sure to be a spectacular season finale in Valencia in a fortnight’s time in front of a sell-out crowd. Just seven points separate the Yamaha frontrunners, Rossi and Lorenzo.
1. Valentino Rossi 312 points
2. Jorge Lorenzo 305 points
3. Marc Marquez 222 points
4. Dani Pedrosa 190 points