Iannone pleased to be back
The weekend might have ended more ignominiously for Dovizioso’s team-mate Andrea Iannone, but the Austrian Grand Prix winner still walked away from Sepang pleased with his efforts despite crashing out of the race at the halfway point.
Marking his return to race action since breaking his back in free practice for his home race at Misano in September, Iannone was delighted to have displayed such strong pace.
He said: “I’m very happy, because I rode for more than half the race at the front, I rode with Valentino, and I came back from four races not sure of what my performance would be. Sure, it was possible to arrive at the podium in third place, but Marquez and Crutchlow’s crashes were on the same lap as me. If I had seen on my pitboard that they had crashed out I would have slowed down – but it was impossible for me to see that.
“For sure, I had a good advantage on Jorge, but in any case it’s important for me to come back in this way, to ride in both the wet and the dry and to be fast – and for me to show that my condition is the best it could be.”
And while crashing out of podium contention wasn’t part of the plan, he also admitted that it came simply as a result of not having enough time on the bike, as Iannone chose to sit out a wet free practice session to reduce the chances of further damaging his stillhealing vertebrae.
“I asked a little more of the front tyre in braking than I should have, and I lost the front,” he added. “But that’s because I didn’t ride during free practice two, and we didn’t have the chance to try something to improve the grip on the rear. I asked the team, but we didn’t have time to try the different setting that Dovi used with some more weight over the rear.”
That winner’s trophy means a lot to him
Iannone was back in action but the race didn’t quite go to plan