Rizla Suzuki’s Álvaro Bautista produced the ride of his season so far to take fifth place during a red-hot race in Malaysia today.
Bautista started from eighth on the grid but was forced back to 11th after contact in the second corner, improving to 10th on lap one, a position he held until the middle of the fourth lap when he picked off the next rider as he began his progression through the field. As the race wore on he got involved in a four bike battle with Marco Simoncelli, Hiroshi Aoyama and Nicky Hayden, before Bautista made the move of the day and passed Simoncelli and Aoyama at the same time to move into fifth on the 17th lap. Bautista tried to close the gap on fourth placed Ben Spies, but there were not enough laps left and he brought his Rizla Suzuki home for a season equalling best finish.
Loris Capirossi suffered yet more heartbreak as he was forced to retire with an electrical fault. The Italian was in 11th place on lap five, when his bike slowed dramatically before stopping, leaving Capirossi with little else to do except park his bike beside the track and make his way disconsolately back to the pits.
Today’s race marked the 20th running of the Malaysian Grand Prix and the a crowd of over 62,000 fans – the biggest ever race-day attendance at Sepang – were treated to a fantastic spectacle as riders throughout the field traded places in their own separate battles. Valentino Rossi eventually ran out the winner with Jorge Lorenzo coming home in third position to give him enough points to be crowned the 2010 MotoGP World Champion.
Rizla Suzuki and the rest of the MotoGP paddock now head over the equator to the only Grand Prix held in the southern hemisphere, as they all prepare to do battle again next weekend, this time at Phillip Island in Australia.
“I am very happy with today’s result because I battled hard with other riders and made the result for myself. The start was not too bad, but on the second corner I had to pick up the bike because some other riders went inside me and I lost some positions. Lap-by-lap I started to overtake other riders and at half distance we caught up to Simoncelli and when I saw that Spies went past him and went away I knew I had to get past Marco and stay with him. I got in a great battle with Simoncelli and I lost some time, and a position, but I had to recover and get past him and Aoyama. When I got into fifth, Spies was quite a way in front and it was difficult to catch him, but I did try and he could have made a mistake at any time that would have helped me get closer. We finished only 15 seconds behind first place and this shows we are improving, so this is very good. I want to say thank-you to all my team, Suzuki, Rizla and all the sponsors, because we are putting in a big effort and going forward together. The bike is now better than at the beginning of the year and I have improved so we are looking forward to the last races.”
“I really don’t know what to say today, I am just so disappointed. We don’t deserve the things that keep happening, but we’ll keep going and hope that our luck improves very soon.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“It was a fantastic ride by Álvaro today. The race had everything in it and could have been even better for him but for a bit of bumping in turn two and the fact that he lost a number of places after making a good start. We haven’t seen many better passes than his move on Simoncelli and Aoyama in turn nine that gave him fifth place! After that he put his head down and tried to catch Ben for fourth – which without question he had the pace to achieve – but there just weren’t enough laps left. Huge congratulations to him and his crew for an excellent performance over the whole weekend.
“As for Loris’s weekend it’s difficult to say anything that could compensate for how he must be feeling. He was a hero to qualify the bike yesterday afternoon after such a huge crash in the morning and deserved a whole lot better out of the Grand Prix. I don’t know if someone has a Loris voodoo doll somewhere that is causing us this incredible run of bad luck, but if so please put it away! He always gives 100% and deserves a good result within the final three Grands Prix to put a silver lining on what has been a very difficult season.”
Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix Race Classification:
1. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 41’03.448: 2. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) +0.224: 3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) +6.035: 4. Ben Spies (Yamaha) +13.676: 5. ÁLVARO BAUTISTA (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +15.402: DNF. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP):
World Championship Classification:
1. Lorenzo 313: 2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 228: 3. Rossi 181: 4. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 180: 5. Dovizioso 179: 13. ÁLVARO BAUTISTA (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) 69: 16. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) 41: