MotoGP Malaysia: Stoner Dominates After the Rain, Rossi Wins Championship Yet Again


What Happens When World Champions Aren’t Bothered by Horrible Starts

4:32am EST — Despite a half hour rain delay, Casey Stoner won the 2009 MotoGP Malaysian GP by nearly fifteenth seconds over Dani Pedrosa.  Valentino Rossi finished third, winning the 2009 world championship, his ninth, after a terrible start dropped him to tenth on the first lap.  Fiat Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo finished third, even as he started at the back of the grid.

The race finally started with Rossi on pole after a delay due to torrential rain.  With no wet sessions run this weekend, it threw all predictions out the window, though any finishing position fourth or higher would grant Rossi the championship.  Lorenzo had some issues in leaving the pit lane, as his bike would not start, leaving him stranded until a switch to his second bike got him out and on a sighting lap.  About half the field went back into the pits to try a second sighting lap to check the conditions.  Lorenzo came back in as well, but the pit exit was closed and Lorenzo had to start from the back of the grid after missing the time to form up on the grid, leaving a gap directly in front of Loris Capirossi, staring in fifth.

Rossi, however, had a horrible start, and was in ninth by the end of the first lap.  Stoner led Pedrosa, Dovizioso, Elias, and Capirossi as the top five.  Teammate Lorenzo had a much better start and was directly in front of Rossi in seventh by the start of the third lap.  Nicky Hayden had also moved forward and was in fifth by that time.  On L4 Capirossi had fallen to Lorenzo.  By the start of L5, it was Stoner leading Pedrosa, Dovizioso, Elias, Hayden, Lorenzo, Rossi, Capirossi, Melandri, and Kallio as the top ten.  Rossi continued his march through the field, moving up to sixth by L6, past Hayden behind Lorenzo.  The two Fiat Yamaha teammates also made their way around Elias before attacking the six-second gap to Dovizioso in third as Stoner had an eleven second gap over second place Pedrosa on L7 of twenty-one.

By L8, Rossi had passed his young teammate and moved into fourth, the position required to win the championship, with a half-second lead over Lorenzo. L10 saw Stoner’s lead grow to 15.538 over Pedrosa, who lead Dovizioso by barely a second before Rossi and Lorenzo, who were five seconds behind the Italian.  Rossi and Lorenzo were a second apart.  On L12 Rossi set fast lap and slightly added to the gap over Lorenzo as he chased down third-place Dovizioso.  Stoner  increased his lead on L15 to eighteen seconds over Pedrosa.  Rossi and Lorenzo, meanwhile, moved up a place each as Dovizioso crashed out.  With five laps left, Rossi was only two seconds behind Pedrosa and had increased his gap to Lorenzo in fourth to 3.8 seconds.  Hayden was in fifth, and Chris Vermeulen was in sixth.

With only two laps left, Stoner had maintained a huge lead over Pedrosa, Rossi seemed to have settled for third with a two second gap to Pedrosa and a 4.6 second gap back to Lorenzo.  Hayden remained in a relatively lonely fifth.

Final Positions for the 2009 MotoGP Malaysian GP: (courtesy of the official MotoGP website)
1. Stoner
2. Pedrosa +14.666
3. Rossi +19.385
4. Lorenzo +25.850
5. Hayden +38.705
6. Vermeulen +41.061
7. Elias +48.555
8. Melandri +55.557
9. Capirossi +1:00.303
10. Kallio +1:00.440
11. Espargaro +1:01.655
12. de Angelis +1:01847
13. Edwards +1:10.778
14. Talmasci +1:15.851
15. Toseland +1:50.672

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