Malaysian GP Results

The results below speak for themselves. I CAN say GO NICKY!

From a press release issued by Honda Racing:


Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang
Raceday Sunday October 12

Track temperature: 41 degrees C
Humidity: 63%
Ambient temperature: 30 degrees C, cloudy


Rain changed everything here in steamy Sepang when a heavy early morning fall altered track conditions on raceday – but it couldn’t change the destiny of Valentino Rossi (Repsol Honda RC211V) who won in style. In front of a 30,000 crowd he won his seventh MotoGP race of the season, his third premier class title and his fifth title in all classes. Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) was second and Max Biaggi (Camel Pramac Pons RC211V) third.

The 24-year-old Rossi is now elevated to the top five all-time Grand Prix winners with his tally of 57 wins: 12 in 125, 14 in 250 and now 31 in the big class. He currently stands head and shoulders above the competition and Honda’s remarkable RC211V has now won 13 of the 14 races held so far in 2003.

This was not an easy win, few are in the white heat of MotoGP competition, but it was still a dominant performance by any standards. Rossi had already pulverised the opposition with his qualifying performance (a stunning 2m 02.480 second lap) and he was in no mood to let the title slip from his grasp with three rounds to go. He badly wanted to wrap it up here – and it showed.

Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) got the holeshot and the Spanish title challenger gave it his all from the lights to try and get away from Rossi while the Italian was lodged in fourth place on the opening lap. But on lap two Rossi was on the move and he dealt first with Loris Capirossi (Ducati) for third and then Carlos Checa (Yamaha) for second.

By lap six he was right up with Gibernau and although he had posted the fastest lap of the race at 2m 03.822 seconds on lap three in his bid to keep Gibernau within range, he could clearly afford to sit back and plan his attack. He put his plan into action on lap eight when he slipped past on the brakes into a medium-speed left-hander.

That was it for Gibernau’s persistent title challenge. Although he gamely kept the Italian in sight, Rossi worked his advantage without taking any unnecessary risks and when Gibernau sailed wide at turn one Rossi opened up the gap. By mid-race distance Rossi was 1.2 seconds ahead and by the end of the race he had just over a two second cushion.

There was plenty of action behind the leading trio of Rossi, Gibernau and Biaggi. Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) fought hard for fourth, taking Carlos Checa (Yamaha) on the penultimate lap and the American rookie has impressed in his first season of MotoGP.

Rossi was understandably delighted. “This is like a dream, this fifth title,” he said. “It was a very hard race – just like all season, but very good fun. Sete put me under a lot of pressure and I had to work hard. I think we won overall because of our consistency and we fought hard for every win. I want to thank Honda for the constant development of the bike that’s made this possible.”

Gibernau was fulsome in his praise for the Champion. “We’ve tried to push Valentino the whole season,” he said. “We knew he was quick here and Max was a top man here too. Overall we knew we could win races and just tried to push. It’s been a great season and there are still two races to go, but congratulations to Vale, and to Max – Vale deserves this.”

Max too was generous and typically realistic. “I couldn’t close the gap with the first two,” he said. “The start was not brilliant for me and I had a lonely race. Rossi is a great rider and he’s had a top-level season. He’s having a ‘gold period’ as we say in Italy. And we’ll try to make sure that he has a less easy time in 2004.”

Nicky Hayden now lies sixth in the World Championship standings after his fourth place here. “That was great,” he said. “I got a good start and made up a few places. I wanted to go with Biaggi but got into a fight with Capirossi. Then I got past him and got past Checa and made the pass stick. When I tested here I really struggled – I’ve definitely learned a lot since then.”

Tohru Ukawa (Camel Pramac Pons RC211V) was seventh. “It was hard to match the pace of the leaders,” he said. “Once again I didn’t get a great start but I lost a few places, then got them back, but didn’t have enough time to catch Capirossi. The rear tyre was spinning-up and it’s a problem we’ve had all year, but there are only two races left to find a solution.”

For Makoto Tamada (Pramac Honda RC211V) who started on the front row, his tenth place was a disappointment. “I didn’t have grip and the bike was hard to handle in the turns. The tyre we chose proved to be too soft and it wore quickly. It was a pity we didn’t have time to work things out better this morning as it was raining.”

Ryuichi Kiyonari (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V) struggled. The Japanese rookie qualified 21st and finished 21st. “I’m not happy with the whole weekend,” he said. “I couldn’t give my maximum in qualifying and I paid for it the race. Now I’ve got to Australia and try and make up for this.”

The Repsol Honda Team has now secured the Team title, but the all-important second-place finish in the World Championship is still up for grabs. Rossi is out of sight on 307 points, but with Gibernau on 244, Max is still in a position to make a fight of it on 215 – and he will.


Valentino Rossi, Repsol Honda Team, Win: "This is like a dream the fifth title. It was a very hard race just like the whole season but also very good fun. Sete put me under much pressure and I have to work hard. I think we win over the season because we were more constant. We fight for the victory every race. We are always on the podium and we always take points and it's possible to make the championship here. I say thank you to my team. We have a great group of people from all over the world. I thank Honda for the constant development of the bike that makes it possible to win. Tonight we make a party with the fan club!"

Sete Gibernau, Telefonica MoviStar Honda, 2nd: “ We have been fighting face to face for the world championship and the title went to Vale. My idea was to get a good start and get away but when Valentino passed me I couldn’t follow his pace. Second is good for me now. I will now concentrate hard for each of the last two races. Dani Pedrosa’s title did not come by accident, it is the results of a job well done and very well planned. I congratulate him on what must be a very special day for him.”

Fausto Gresini: Sete ran a very good race today without errors and at a very high rhythm. Once again he has shown he is in very good form and I congratulate him on his performance. We have to be conscious that we are racing against the World Champion.

Max Biaggi, Camel Pramac Pons, 3rd: The beginning of the race was complicated for me. I did not make a good start and it took me a couple of laps to get on the pace when, by that time, the leaders had gained enough of an advantage to escape and I could not make contact with them. It was quite a difficult race. I gave everything I had as always, but I must congratulate Rossi on winning the Championship. This season has been more difficult for Valentino than last season and I hope that next year will be even more difficult for him.””

Sito Pons: I am very happy because we have achieved another podium finish which reflects the competitiveness of both Max and the team. Max and Tohru both made poor starts, but they fought their way back through the field well.I hope that we manage to maintain the high level of performance shown in the last two races of the season. Finally I would like to congratulate Valentino Rossi and Honda on winning another World Championship.”

Nicky Hayden , Repsol Honda Team, 4th: "That was great. I got a pretty good start off the jump. Valentino didn't make such a great start and I had to go round him I turn 1. I made up a few spots that was good. I wanted to go with Biaggi. I went with Capirossi and outbraked myself then he got me back - he was so fast. I then got him and made the pass stick. Then managed to catch Checa. He upped the pace a little and I eventually got him in the end. Pretty committed overtakin'! When I tested here I really struggled. The track didn't suit my style. I've definitely learned a lot since then, especially about pickin' the bike up when the tyres have gone away. Really pleased to have moved up another spot!"

Tohru Ukawa, Camel Pramac Pons: 7th: “It was difficult to maintain the pace of the leaders because the temperature was too high and we had selected a rear tyre that was too soft. My pace was the same at the start and finish of the race, although in the middle of the race I did a couple of laps in 2:05. Once again I did not make a great start, although I wouldn’t say it was too bad, but I lost some places and I did not have enough time to catch Capirossi. The rear tyre was sliding too much, but it is the same problems that we have suffered all year. There are two races left in which to find a solution.”

Makoto Tamada, Pramac Honda Team, 10th: "The first few metres after the start were OK, when you let the clutch go and shoot off. But in the middle of the straight I no longer had the traction I needed and then ended up in the confusion at the first corner. I lost ground and tried to move back up but, after overtaking Haga and Melandri, when I was tenth, I realised there wasn't much more I could put into it. I didn't have grip and the bike was difficult to handle round the corners. The tyre we chose proved to be too soft and it wore out very quickly. It was a pity we didn't have time to work things out better this morning as it was raining, but now the only thing I can do is to concentrate on Phillip Island. I do know it a bit and I want to do better there than I did today."

SEARCH: All Categories Classifieds Racing News Bike Tests Cycle Doctor Stories How To Gear Parts 10/13/2003

Marlboro Motorcycle Malaysian Grand Prix Race

Rossi clinches fifth World Championship crown

Valentino Rossi today wrote himself into the record books once more with his third successive MotoGP World Championship title. The Italian took victory at the Marlboro Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix from his only remaining title rival Sete Gibernau, extending his lead over the Spaniard to an insurmountable 63 points with two rounds remaining. Rossi's 31st victory from 62 premier-class starts sealed his fifth World title in total, having also taken the 125cc and 250cc crowns in 1997 and 1999. In the 125cc class Dani Pedrosa became the first man since Rossi to clinch the title with two rounds remaining with an impressive victory, whilst the 250cc title chase remains open thanks to another victory for Pedrosa's former teammate Toni Elias.

"It has been a great season for me, with many nice races and some fantastic victories," said Rossi afterwards. "It was a very hard race, just like the whole year. We have been constant, on the podium and fighting for victory at every race and we have been able to take the title here - five for me now is like a dream. Thanks to my team, my mechanics, my sponsors, Honda and my fans."

As he has done all season, Gibernau put up a brave resistance after taking a strong early lead in today's race but Rossi wasted little time imposing his dominance, taking the lead on the eighth lap before opening up a clear winning margin of over two seconds. Max Biaggi completed the podium today after a lonely ride to third place as he struggled to match the electric early pace of Rossi and Gibernau. Fellow Honda rider Nicky Hayden continued his excellent second half of the season with fourth, beating Yamaha's Carlos Checa on the final lap after an intense battle.

Loris Capirossi lightened another dismal weekend for Ducati with sixth place, three seconds ahead of Tohru Ukawa. Capirossi's teammate Troy Bayliss was overhauled on the final lap by Shinya Nakano, who stole eighth. Makoto Tamada got a poor start from the front row and never recovered the excellent rhythm he had set in practice, crossing the line in a disappointing tenth place.

Toni Elias closed the gap on Manuel Poggiali at the top of the 250cc World Championship standings to 25 points after a taking his second consecutive victory in dominant style. The young Spaniard, who started from his fourth consecutive pole position, led virtually from the start and opened up an insuperable advantage as his teammate Fonsi Nieto blocked Poggiali's progress in second place. Poggiali got past Nieto at the halfway stage but the Spaniard refused to lie down and the pair fought tooth and nail for the extra points, with Poggiali winning out in the final corner. Roberto Rolfo sealed fourth place and now lies level on points with Elias in the championship, dropping to third place due to an inferior number of victories.

Dani Pedrosa sealed the World Championship with victory in the 125cc class as nearest challenger Stefano Perugini retired with mechanical problems. Pedrosa made an early charge after starting from second on the grid and, like Elias in the 250 race, quickly built a comfortable lead which would never come under threat. Tensions ran high in pitlane with the memories still fresh of an identical situation seven days previously at Motegi when Pedrosa held a similar lead only to suffer mechanical problems which limited him to sixth place, but this time his Honda held out until the end of the race and the 18 year old was left to celebrate his place in the record books as the second youngest ever World Champion behind Loris Capirossi. "I can't really find words to explain my emotion right now," said a tearful Pedrosa afterwards. "All I can say is thanks to my family and to Alberto Puig for all the support they have given me and also to Honda. This is incredible."

A thrilling fight for second place between Mika Kallio and Jorge Lorenzo was won in the final corner by Kallio, who sealed his maiden podium in impressive style and handed KTM their first top three finish since joining the series at the start of the season.

MotoGP Results

Lap Record: 2' 3.822 (Valentino Rossi, 2003)
Fastest Lap Ever: 2' 2.480 (Valentino Rossi, 2003)

Race: 21 Laps

1 V. Rossi Honda ITA 43' 41.457
2 S. Gibernau Honda ESP +2.042
3 M. Biaggi Honda ITA +7.644
4 N. Hayden Honda USA +13.733
5 C. Checa Yamaha ESP +13.789
6 L. Capirossi Ducati ITA +20.567
7 T. Ukawa Honda JPN +23.449
8 S. Nakano Yamaha JPN +26.740
9 T. Bayliss Ducati AUS +32.149
10 M. Tamada Honda JPN +40.556
11 M. Melandri Yamaha ITA +43.863
12 N. Haga Aprilia JPN +44.613
13 C. Edwards Aprilia USA +54.667
14 K. Roberts Suzuki USA +1' 2.687
15 A. Barros Yamaha BRA +1' 3.006

Fastest Race Lap:

1 V. Rossi Honda ITA 2' 3.822

Championship standings MotoGP

1 Valentino Rossi Honda ITA 307
2 Sete Gibernau Honda ESP 244
3 Max Biaggi Honda ITA 215
4 Loris Capirossi Ducati ITA 141
5 Troy Bayliss Ducati AUS 119
6 Nicky Hayden Honda USA 114
7 Tohru Ukawa Honda JPN 112
8 Carlos Checa Yamaha ESP 104
9 Shinya Nakano Yamaha JPN 92
10 Alex Barros Yamaha BRA 91
11 Makato Tamada Honda JPN 75
12 Olivier Jacque Yamaha FRA 61
13 Colin Edwards Aprilia USA 54
14 Marco Melandri Yamaha ITA 45
15 Noriyuki Haga Aprilia JPN 44
16 Norick Abe Yamaha JPN 24

Manufacturers standings MotoGP

1 Honda 345
2 Ducati 189
3 Yamaha 154
4 Aprilia 71
5 Suzuki 31
6 Proton KR 29
7 Kawasaki 16
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