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Pedrosa, Stoner: It had to stop
22 October 2012
Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner potentially had most to gain if Sunday's soaking Malaysian MotoGP hadn't been stopped, but even they agreed it would have been impossible to race for much longer.
Pedrosa overtook title rival Jorge Lorenzo for the race lead on lap 10 of the planned 20 lap distance, just as the rain began to intensify, and then broke clear.
Six riders crashed in the following laps and Lorenzo, struggling for control on a worn softer rear wet, was seen signalling that conditions were too dangerous.
But Stoner, like Pedrosa and half of the grid, had chosen the harder rear and was now closing in on Lorenzo - then caught the Yamaha rider (pictured) when he almost fell at the final turn of lap 14.
However the race was stopped just moments later and, with a restart later ruled out, results were taken from the end of lap 13, when Pedrosa was 3.7s ahead of Lorenzo and Stoner a further 3.5s behind.
Stoner said that if the race had gone its full distance he would have had a good chance of fighting for victory, but realistically the Australian believes one or two more laps would have been the absolute maximum.
“I think to stop the race before then would definitely not have been correct,” began the reigning world champion.
“In all honestly the only time I felt it got close to dangerous was the last time we passed over the finish line. Then we had quite a lot of aquaplaning...
“One or two more laps it would have been really impossible, but before that we didn't have huge puddles in the middle of the corners.
“So I think they could have gone an extra lap or two, but I don't think we could have finished the race. Actually I'm sure we couldn't have finished the race distance. It would have become too bad.”
The timing of the stoppage meant that Pedrosa only gained five points on Lorenzo, which could have been a nine-point gain had Stoner overtaken Lorenzo for second.
However the treacherous nature of wet races means that it is far from guaranteed that all of the top three would have stayed on had the race continued.
And if Pedrosa had crashed out, the title fight would have been all but over.
“At maximum one more lap,” said Pedrosa of the conditions. “Some spots were already getting deep and the last part I did on the straight I was spinning in every gear. I think one more lap, maybe.”
Lorenzo, who will take a 23-point lead into this coming Sunday's penultimate round at Phillip Island, unsurprisingly felt the timing of the red flags had been almost perfect
“One corner before would have been better for my heart!” he joked.
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