The MotoGP title race will go down to the wire after Dani Pedrosa won a dramatic Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday that see championship leader Valentino Rossi penalized.
Rossi finished third behind title rival and Yamaha team mate Jorge Lorenzo to allow the Spaniard to close within seven points, but the seven-time premier class champion will await the outcome of an official inquiry to see if he keeps his points.
Prior to the race, Rossi had claimed former champion Marc Marquez ‘would prefer (fellow Spaniard) Lorenzo to win” the championship and the pair took their war of words onto the Sepang International Circuit in stunning fashion.
The duo swapped places and touched wheels a number of times until Rossi appeared to slow at a turn, force Marquez wide and then flicked out a knee, which resulted in his rival’s Honda sliding into the gravel. Rossi said it was a racing incident and regretted his rival had crashed out.”I lost a lot of time fighting with Marc and tried to go a little wider on that turn but unfortunately he crashed at that moment,” Rossi said in an interview.”It cost us both a chance to fight with Jorge so Valencia will now be difficult,” he added, looking ahead to the season-ending race on Nov. 8.Rossi will start from the back of the grid in the season finale in Valencia after being penalized for causing Marquez to crash out of the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Rossi’s Yamaha team are appealing Race Direction’s decision, announced on MotoGP’s official Twitter feed, to award the Italian three penalty points that pushes him to the back of the grid in Spain.The Italian, seeking a record-equalling eighth premier class title, heads to Valencia on 312 points with Lorenzo on 305.
There was more drama on the podium as the pro-Rossi Malaysian crowd booed Lorenzo when he picked up his second-place prize, with the Spaniard storming off immediately after the anthems and not waiting to pose for post-race photographs.