A 'frustrated' Danny Kent is hopeful of a less-frantic race in Malaysia after a race crash forced him to put his Moto3 title winning in celebrations on hold for one week.
In an action-packed weekend for the 21 year-old, Kent was controversially penalised six grid places for touring on two consecutive laps in FP3 as part of race direction's mandate to clamp down on riders cruising while out on track.
Kent grudgingly accepted the penalty despite attesting that he was simply trying to shake off irksome riders looking for his tow. With main title rival Enea Bastianini qualifying in 27th, his chances of securing a debut world crown were still within reach.
However two moments in the race were pivotal. In the first Kent narrowly escaped a fall as Francesco Bagnaia rode into his rear at Honda hairpin, forcing him off track.
The second came five laps later as the recovering Englishman sought to exit the Southern Loop quickly only for Niccolo Antonelli to collect his rear tyre, forcing Kent and the trailing Bastianini into the gravel trap.
“I knew that I had the pace to be on the podium but I was pushing to stay in that lead group,” explained a frustrated championship leader. “But once you get to the front of a group with the headwind down the front straight if you were in front you'd immediately be dropped to eighth in the group. I was using other people's slipstreams to stay in the front group and I'm sure that if I hadn't been hit those two times that I could have left the island as the world champion.
“I knew straight away that Bastianini was also out of the race because I looked up and could see him walking away. But at the same time I knew that Oliviera was in the lead group and I knew from the maths that he could finish on the podium and still be in with a chance of the championship. I'm just frustrated.”
Indeed, Kent's spill and Miguel Oliveira's resulting win sees the Englishman's title advantage reduced to 40 points, with just 50 left to play. With just four days between races, Kent's attention has turned to securing the title in Malaysia.
“We need to sit down now and look at what we need to do in Malaysia to win the championship. We know that we can lose 15 points in Malaysia and still win the championship. When you say it like that it sounds easy but it can be gone so quickly so we'll have to wait and see what happens.
“It looks like Dorna doesn't want me to win the championship and they're making it harder for me. But we've got a 40 point lead with two races remaining and I'd much rather be in my position than Oliviera's but we've got to keep working hard and hopefully we'll have it wrapped up in Malaysia.
“In Malaysia we'll work on our race pace and try and finish as high as possible. I'll sit down with the team and try and figure out what the best solution for Malaysia will be but I'm just hoping that we'll go there and it's not 15 riders in the lead group.
"That would just mean that there's 14 other riders that have a chance to take you out again. It happens a lot in Moto3 so I'm hoping that it's a case of being a race where there are only a couple of us with the pace to run away at the front.”