Spanish pilot Maverick Viñales (Yamaha) has taken his second victory of the year at the Malaysia MotoGP this Sunday at the Sepang circuit. Marc Márquez (Honda) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) have completed the podium.
The pilot from Girona has made up from his fall in Australia when he was fighting with the #93 for the lead. On this occasion, he has managed to turn the tables around and keep his rival at bay by winning with a final advantage of 3,059 seconds.
This is Viñales ninth podium of the year, a result that props him up to the third place in the standings. Seven points below is Alex Rins (Suzuki) who finished five at Sepang. Maverick has also put an end to Marc’s four consecutive winning-streak.
The genius from Cervera has also signed a sensational performance. Despite yesterday’s brutal accident, he has managed to break two records today; the greatest number of podiums (17) and of points (395) achieved by any pilot in one season. On this occasion, Dovi has beaten Rossi for the third step of the podium.
And…What about pole-holder Fabio Quartararo? He finished in a very disappointing seventh place.
Márquez’ video game start stint
After a miraculous recovery from his frightening accident during yesterdays Q2 session, Marquez was ready to put on one of his usual shows from the middle of the starting grid. And so he did. The Spaniard performed one of the best starts of the season.
In a supernatural first few meters of race, Marquez managed to climb up from the eleventh to the fifth place in the blink of an eye. His movements resembled those of a video game, overtaking his rivals with otherworldly ease.
Poleman Fabio Quartararo, on the other hand, gave in to the attacks of Jack Miller and Viñales, while Dovi followed Marc’s example climbing from the tenth to the third place by the first turn.
On completion of the first lap, Márquez was already in second place behind Viñales and followed by Miller, Dovi and Rossi.
Viñales, well aware of his excellent rhythm, tried to escape from both Miller and Marquez. The six-time champion, however, was held back by his fight with the Ducaties of Miller and Dovizioso, a circumstance which helped Maverick accrue a 1,4-second advantage by the fourth lap.
Two laps after that and taking advantage of Dovi’s mistake, Marc jumped into second behind Maverick but his efforts to catch up with the Yamaha #12 were sterile.
The pilot from Rosas asserted his dominance and escaped with two seconds over the six-time champion. Marc could only watch, unable to cut the time back from the leader. Nothing he could have done would have changed anything at this point.
The race was starting to look a lot like the one in Assen, where Maverick escaped solo to victory and more unlike the one in Phillip Island where Marc managed to climb back to pass him on the final lap.
Marquez, better P2 than nothing
Unable to win, Marquez had to settle for his initial objective: a podium finish in all of the season’s appointments, except for Austin, of course, where he suffered a fall. Still shaken up by the dangerous accident suffered less than twenty-four hours earlier, and struggling with the suffocating heat and humidity of the Sepang circuit, he couldn’t stand up to Viñales.
Meanwhile, and with just four laps left to the end of the race, Rins had caught up with Dovizioso and Rossi in the fight for the third place. The Ducati #4 was initially passed by Rossi although shortly after it regained command of the group. In the end, Dovizioso managed to hold on to third ahead of Rossi, fourth, and Rins, fifth.
As for the rest of the Spaniards, Joan Mir has finished tenth after receiving a penalty for knocking Johann Zarco down, while Pol and Aleix Espargaró have finished eleventh and twelfth, respectively. One place below, arrived Jorge Lorenzo, thanks to the falls of Iannone, Crutchlow and Zarco, who preceded him.
Images of Malaysian MotoGP: Maverick Viñales