Mar­quez wins Malaysian Mo­toGP as Rossi crashes out of lead

Tehran Times - - WORLD SPORTS -

World cham­pion Marc Mar­quez fought his way from sev­enth place on the start­ing grid to win the Malaysian Mo­toGP Sun­day, as Valentino Rossi crashed out while lead­ing four laps from the end.

Suzuki’s Alex Rins came in sec­ond af­ter over­tak­ing Yamaha rider Jo­hann Zarco, who fin­ished third, in the fi­nal stage of a hard-fought race at Sep­ang in bak­ing hot tem­per­a­tures.

Ital­ian star Rossi, a nine-time world cham­pion who has strug­gled re­cently to find form against younger foes, ap­peared on course for his first win in Malaysia since 2010 af­ter a strong start from sec­ond on the grid put him firmly in the lead.

But Honda’s Mar­quez, who won the world ti­tle last month for the fifth time in mo­tor­cy­cling’s premier class, me­thod­i­cally fought his way up through the pack af­ter be­gin­ning near the back.

The Spaniard, who qual­i­fied in pole po­si­tion but was hit with a six-place grid penalty for im­ped­ing an­other rider, made it to sec­ond place and was start­ing to close the gap on Rossi, 39.

It looked like the fi­nal stage of the Malaysian Grand Prix would be a clas­sic bat­tle be­tween two Mo­toGP ti­tans known for their fierce ri­valry.

But as he rounded a sharp turn on the 16th lap, Yamaha rider Rossi leaned over too far and tum­bled off his bike -ef­fec­tively hand­ing vic­tory to his 25-year-old foe.

Rossi, who has won in the premier class at Sep­ang on five pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sions, got back on his bike but only man­aged to fin­ish a lack­lus­tre 18th.

“It is a great, great shame, I am very dis­ap­pointed for the mis­take,” ad­mit­ted a crest­fallen Rossi, who has not won a race this sea­son.

“It is frus­trat­ing.”

But he tried to look on the bright side: “It is the best race of the sea­son for me, it is also com­ing in a dif­fi­cult con­di­tion and a dif­fi­cult track for us. This is im­por­tant.”

Mar­quez cruised to a com­fort­able vic­tory in 40 min 32.372 sec, with Rins and Zarco left far be­hind bat­tling it out for sec­ond place.

Mar­quez, who notched up his ninth win of the sea­son Sun­day and his first in Malaysia since 2014, said that fight­ing his way up from the back was not easy.

“It was a very, very, very hard race,” he said, but added that hav­ing the odds stacked against with a third row start proved to be an “ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion”.

It is not the first time this sea­son that Mar­quez has lost his pole po­si­tion due to a penalty, and nev­er­the­less gone on to vic­tory.

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