Rins be a con­tender?

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On cur­rent form Suzuki ace could be a force in 2019

Hav­ing won in Malaysia in tor­ren­tially wet con­di­tions for the last two years, An­drea Dovizioso was ex­pected to be the man to beat in Sun­day’s Malaysian Grand Prix at Sep­ang. How­ever, a lack of dry track time caused sur­prise prob­lems and the Ital­ian fac­tory Du­cati rider slumped to a dis­ap­point­ing sixth place in the race.

In­stead, the real fire­works of this tra­di­tion­ally ex­plo­sive week­end came as a re­sult of Dovizioso’s on-go­ing war of words with de­part­ing Du­cati team-mate Jorge Lorenzo. The Honda-bound Spa­niard missed the last two rounds of the cham­pi­onship in Ja­pan and Aus­tralia due to in­jury sus­tained when his Du­cati suf­fered a tech­ni­cal prob­lem at the Thai­land GP at Buri­ram a month ago, but was ex­pected to re­turn in Malaysia.

But af­ter rid­ing in Fri­day’s free prac­tice ses­sions at Sep­ang, Lorenzo elected to sit out the race af­ter all. He in­stead let Du­cati test rider Michele Pirro take his place while he con­tin­ued to re­cover from his badly bro­ken wrist.

When asked on Satur­day about his team-mate’s de­ci­sion not to race, Dovizioso told Ital­ian me­dia that “It’s funny what hap­pens when some rid­ers come to Du­cati, but it’s not my prob­lem.”

These com­ments re­port­edly en­raged twice-250 and three-time Mo­togp world cham­pion Lorenzo who then took to so­cial me­dia to re­spond, sar­cas­ti­cally call­ing Dovi a ‘real gen­tle­man,’ an ‘ex­em­plary com­pan­ion’ and ‘a world cham­pion... but in 125s.’

The duo go their sep­a­rate ways af­ter one more race, much to the re­lief of Du­cati man­age­ment. Lorenzo joins Marc Mar­quez at Rep­sol Honda at the Va­len­cia post-race test in just two weeks’ time.

‘It’s funny what hap­pens when some rid­ers come to Du­cati’ AN­DREA DOVIZIOSO ON LORENZO

Dovizioso could only come sixth on Sun­day

De­part­ing Lorenzo de­cided not to race

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