Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Malaysian Grand Prix, which was marked by very wet conditions. Hayden’s result was his best this season so far.
Rain had already fallen during the Moto3 race, which saw German Sandro Cortese take the win and the title, and it had an even bigger influence on the Moto2 race, which started late and ended early. But it was the MotoGP race that was most affected, with delays, crashes and eventually a premature finish. Nicky Hayden passed the chequered flag in fourth place, having lapped at a competitive pace and avoided mistakes.
After an excellent start from the fourth row, Valentino Rossi was fifth at the end of lap one, and until eleven laps from the end, he was involved in a fight with Dovizioso and Stoner for the third step of the podium. With the rain increasing in intensity, he ran long in turn 7, dropping to ninth place as a result. From there, he once again advanced as high as fifth place, when the red flag fell seven laps before the scheduled finish. With the rain only falling harder after that, the decision was made not to restart the race.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 4th
“Those were really tough conditions. I got a good launch, but when Dovizioso got sideways in front of me, I shut off the throttle and lost positions. I was able to recover, but I lost some confidence when the rear tried to come around a couple times. I had to be really patient in the beginning, but once I got rolling, I had good rhythm. It was clearly the right decision to call the race. There was a lot of water those last couple of laps, and it was almost impossible to see, although the rear lights on the bikes helped a lot. In dry conditions, I would’ve been thrilled with fourth, but I know our potential is higher in the wet. It would’ve been amazing to give my guys a podium today, but it’s a decent result. Hopefully, it can help me come out of the difficult period and give us something to build on.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 5th
“Our race wasn’t bad because I got a great start despite being so far back, on the fourth row, and then I managed to be pretty fast. I was riding with Dovizioso and Stoner, when unfortunately I started having some problems with my visor fogging, and in those extreme conditions, with low light and a lot of water, it was very difficult. I made a mistake in turn 7, and I was lucky not to crash because it was the same point where Dovizioso, Spies and then Bradl went down. Without that mistake, I could have finished fourth because honestly, Stoner was a bit faster than I was, especially in T2. In general though, it didn’t go bad. Of course I would’ve liked to finish the full race, but there was really too much water. I think the decision to stop was correct because in these conditions, the bikes can aquaplane and you can go down in any corner.”
Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager
“It was certainly a strange Sunday, with conditions that we hadn’t ridden in the whole weekend. We started with the tyres as an unknown and opted for the hard rain, which in the end turned out to be a good choice. Both Nicky and Vale were very good because they brought home a good haul of points in an extremely difficult situation that cost many others. Our bike performs very well in wet conditions, and both riders took good advantage of that.”
Source: Ducati Corse