Rosberg tells Ferrari “game on!” after Vettel’s Malaysia win (VIDEO)

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Following the Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago, Nico Rosberg said that it would be nice if Ferrari could cut the gap to Mercedes and give the German marque some competition in 2014.

Few could have predicted that Ferrari would in fact defeat Mercedes soundly just one race later at the Malaysian Grand Prix, with Sebastian Vettel clinching his first win for the Italian team in just his second race since leaving Red Bull.

Rosberg struggled with tire management in Malaysia due to the extreme heat, leaving him third at the flag, 3.7 seconds behind teammate Lewis Hamilton.

When asked if he expected Ferrari to fight back so quickly after the race, Rosberg said: “No, but all I can say now on behalf of our team is ‘game on Ferrari!'”

Rosberg appeared to fall foul of a strategy error by Mercedes, with the team putting both of its drivers onto the prime tire early in the race instead of the medium compound.

However, Rosberg refused to take anything away from Ferrari, praising the team for its first win in almost two years.

“I don’t know about the exact details about the strategy because it was quite complex out there,” Rosberg said. “I’m sure we did a good job, and just congrats – Ferrari did an awesome job today. They derserved to win and we’ll be back next race.”

Rosberg has now set his sights on claiming his first win of the season at the Chinese Grand Prix in two weeks’ time, and vowed to push teammate Lewis Hamilton hard.

“China is a great track for me, so I look forward to that,” Rosberg said. “Of course, we’re going there for the win. Definitely, yes, I’ll be pushing him [Hamilton] hard, definitely.”

Jack Miller wins the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix as Fabio Quartararo stops his downward points’ slide


Jack Miller ran away with the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi as Fabio Quartararo stopped his downward slide in the championship when a last-lap accident from his closest rival in the standings caused Francesco Bagnaia to score zero points.

Starting seventh, Miller quickly made his way forward. He was second at the end of two laps. One lap later, he grabbed the lead from Jorge Martin. Once in the lead, Miller posted three consecutive fastest laps and was never seriously challenged. It was Australian native Miller’s first race win of the season and his sixth podium finish.

The proximity to his home turf was not lost.

“I can ride a motorcycle sometimes,” Miller said in NBC Sports’ post-race coverage. “I felt amazing all weekend since I rolled out on the first practice. It feels so awesome to be racing on this side of the world.

“What an amazing day. It’s awesome; we have the home Grand Prix coming up shortly. Wedding coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m over the moon; can’t thank everyone enough.”

Miller beat Brad Binder to the line by 3.4 seconds with third-place Jorge Martin finishing about one second behind.

But the center of the storm was located just inside the top 10 as both Quartararo and Bagnaia started deep in the field.

Quartararo was on the outside of row three in ninth with Bagnaia one row behind in 12th. Neither rider moved up significantly, but the championship continued to be of primary importance as Bagnaia put in a patented late-race charge to settle onto Quartararo’s back tire, which would have allowed the championship leader to gain only a single point.

On the final lap, Bagnaia charged just a little too hard and crashed under heavy braking, throwing away the seven points he would have earned for a ninth-place finish.

The day was even more dramatic for the rider who entered the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix third in the standings. On the sighting lap, Aleix Espargaro had an alarm sound, so he peeled off into the pits, dropped his primary bike and jumped aboard the backup. Starting from pit lane, he trailed the field and was never able to climb into the points. An undisclosed electronic problem was the culprit.

For Quartararo, gaining eight points on the competition was more than a moral victory. This was a track on which he expected to run moderately, and he did, but the problems for his rivals gives him renewed focus with four rounds remaining.

Next week, the series heads to Thailand and then Miller’s home track of Phillip Island in Australia. They will close out the Pacific Rim portion of the schedule before heading to Spain for the finale in early November.

It would appear team orders are not in play among the Ducati riders. Last week’s winner Enea Bastianini made an aggressive early move on Bagnaia for position before the championship contender wrestled the spot back.

In his second race back following arm surgery, Marc Marquez won the pole. His last pole was more than 1,000 days ago on this same track in 2019, the last time the series competed at Motegi. Marquez slipped to fifth in the middle stages of the race, before regaining a position to finish just off the podium.

In Moto2 competition, Ai Ogura beat Augusto Fernandez to close the gap in that championship to two points. Fernandez holds the scant lead. Alonso Lopez rounded out the podium.

Both American riders, Cameron Beaubier and Joe Roberts finished just outside the top 10 in 11th and 12th respectively.