© Getty Images

MotoGP: Pedrosa wins Malaysian GP overshadowed by Rossi kick

1 Comment

Dani Pedrosa’s strong finish to the 2015 MotoGP season continued in the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday as he claimed his second victory in three races ahead of Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo.

However, the race was overshadowed by an on-track clash between Marc Marquez and championship leader Valentino Rossi that has seen the latter be demoted to the back of the grid for the season finale in two weeks’ time.

Starting from pole, Pedrosa made a clean start to lead into turn one before controlling proceedings throughout the race to take a fuss-free win ahead of Lorenzo by 3.6 seconds at the flag.

Marquez initially stayed with Honda teammate Pedrosa before dropping behind Lorenzo and entering battle for third place with Rossi, who had accused the Spaniard of trying to derail his title bid earlier this week.

On lap seven, Rossi dived down the inside of Marquez at turn ten to take the position before the Honda rider fought back through turns 11 and 12. The two riders went side-by-side into the turn 13 and 14 complex, with Marquez on the outside.

After turning his head to see where Marquez was, Rossi lifted his left leg and made contact with the Spaniard, causing him to fall off his bike. Rossi was able to continue, but a fuming Marquez was resigned to his sixth retirement of the season.

Rossi eventually finished the race in third, leaving his lead over Lorenzo in the championship standing at seven points ahead of the title decider in Valencia on November 8.

Unsurprisingly, he was brought before the stewards after the race for his clash, with many – including Lorenzo – calling for his disqualification from the race.

The race director ultimately decided to uphold Rossi’s third place finish, but he will be forced to start the final race of the year in Valencia from the back of the grid, setting the stage for a thrilling championship showdown.

“You know unfortunately I lost a lot of time with Marc and in turn 14, I tried to go wide to get a better line to make him slow because he just rides to cause me some problems,” Rossi told motogp.com after the race, having skipped the post-race press conference.

“Unfortunately he came to me and I think he crashed in that moment. It’s a shame because I think that in a normal race we can stay and fight with Jorge and we lost some more points. Valencia will be more difficult.”

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

HUSTLING HELIO: Castroneves hunting for 2021 rides in IMSA, IndyCar

Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.