Andrea Dovizioso started from eighth place on the grid and at the end of the 20-lap race, he was in the same position. Following a good start, the Italian went wide in Turn 14 on the third lap, forcing him to mount a difficult charge to make up lost positions. With teammate Nicky Hayden and fellow Ducati rider Andrea Iannone both dropping out, Dovizioso was able to take the chequered flag in eighth place.
Despite starting from the fourth row, Hayden did well in the early going and had climbed to eighth place by the third lap. Unfortunately, his bike suffered an engine problem at the end of lap eight, forcing him to retire. The engine will be sent back to the factory in Bologna to be analysed by the Corse technicians.
The MotoGP teams now head straight to Phillip Island in Australia, where the second leg of this overseas tripleheader will take place in one week’s time.
Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team, 8th
“I had a good start and was trying to stay with Smith, but I was very close to the limit and made a small mistake in Turn 14, where I closed the front. I went off-track and lost nearly ten seconds. Then it took at least seven corners for the normal grip on the right side of the tyre to come back, and I’m not sure why. We can’t be happy because our lap times were pretty disappointing. At the moment, it’s very hard for us; the other bikes have different characteristics and we aren’t able to close on them.”
Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team, DNF
“It’s a real shame because yesterday before FP4, the team made a good step with the bike. I didn’t ride well in qualifying, but this morning I was able to go faster than I had all weekend and had a pretty decent pace. In the race, I started eleventh but was able to move up a few spots and was having the best race I’ve had in a while. I was pulling away from Dovi pretty well and had just closed onto the back of Bradley. He was a little faster than I was in a few places, but I was better in some other spots. Just as I tipped it into the last corner, I heard a strange noise. I was hoping it was something on his bike, but when I opened the gas it was clear it was me. We need to let the engineers check out the engine to see what the problem was. It’s just a shame for me and the team to start the three-week trip this way.”
Paolo Ciabatti – Ducati MotoGP Project Director
“We’ve already sent Nicky’s engine to Bologna to be checked by the racing department, so we should soon know the real cause of the problem that occurred in the race. It’s a shame because Hayden had done a good warm-up session and was also having a good race, fighting with Smith. As for Andrea, he made a small mistake in the early laps and unfortunately, he immediately lost touch with Hayden, Iannone and Smith, forcing him to work his way back up. Once again, we don’t get much satisfaction from this race in Malaysia.”