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MotoGP Malaysia: Iannone revels in Rossi lead battle, left empty handed

"I'm very happy because I ride for more than half the race at the front and I fight with Vale. So I came back in the best way" - Andrea Iannone.
Andrea Iannone showed no signs of the back injury that forced him to miss four rounds as he battled for victory in Sunday's Malaysian MotoGP.

The factory Ducati star led for 9 of the opening 10 laps, until Valentino Rossi finally found a way to not only pass but stay ahead of his fellow Italian.

Iannone's race then came to an abrupt end when he fell from third place on lap 13 of 19, shortly after being overtaken by team-mate and eventual winner Andrea Dovizioso.

"I'm very happy because I ride for more than half the race at the front and I fight with Vale. So I came back in the best way I think and my performance did not show I had been away for four races.

"Vale is my friend. I'm very happy for this battle and also Vale I'm sure. But the last eight laps he was more fast than me, he had good traction in the last part of the corner before you pick-up the bike. And I don't. I had a lot of spin. I tried to quick-shift, I tried everything. I had the possibility to recover this disadvantage in the braking point, but unlike him I had to brake at the limit all the race!

"I arrived [at Turn 9] a little bit long and asked a little bit more of the front tyre during braking. So when I try to turn, I lose the front. But this problem is because I did not ride [in the wet] during FP2 and we didn't have chance to try a setting to improve grip on the rear. Dovi used a different setting, with a little more kilograms on the rear, and this helped for the grip."

Afterwards Iannone admitted he would have backed off and settled for third if he had been aware that Honda riders Marc Marquez and Cal Crutchlow were no longer a threat, having fallen moments before him.

"It was possible to arrive in third position, but I didn't know Marc and Cal had crashed before me. If I had arrived on the straight I would have seen 'Marc and Cal out' on my pit board, and for sure I would have reduced my speed because Jorge was seven-seconds behind me.

"In any case, it is very important for me to come back in this way. Ride very well all weekend in the wet and dry. My conditions is the best and I think it's very important to fight on the top always.

"During this year I improved my riding a lot," he reflected. "Yes, I crash a lot, but because I want to stay with the best bikes and riders. I think when the Ducati arrives at the same level as Honda and Yamaha it's easier to not crash.

"If you have a good spirit and you want to fight with the best guys, this is the risk. And I always want to risk for this. Because I'm not happy to arrive fifth. I'm happy when I arrive first, second or third."

And is Iannone, who held off Dovizioso for victory in Austria, happy to see his team-mate win?

"Yes, I'm very happy for Ducati and also for Dovi. For Dovi, finally arrive the victory also for him. I think he would prefer in the dry, but he won in the wet and the important thing is to win."

Iannone will start his final race for Ducati at Valencia on November 13, then make his Suzuki debut in testing two days later.

By Peter McLaren

Tagged as: Iannone

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October 30, 2016 4:52 PM
Last Edited 3 days ago

I am not a fan of Iannone but I am definitely a fan of his ability and exciting riding and battling style. But I am glad I am not a fan : it would be so frustrating. This interview for example : Iannone did not need his pit board - it was so clear he had such an advantage on acceleration all he had to do was to wait behind Rossi, let him make the pace. That's all he had to do - the race is not won on lap 5 out of 19 ON THE WET ! If it had been Marquez he would have done just that - Dovi did. Instead Iannone shot his tyres and the rest is history. So much talent, so much potential, so much absence of thinking. 6 DNFs this season, 2 of them outrageously taking out Dovi and Jorge, plus 4 DNS (Did not Start) due to his spinal injury in a crash. That is 10 races, over half of the total number of races this year. No wonder Ducati went for Dovi for next year - they want their bike to start races and finish races !


October 30, 2016 5:21 PM

@ZeFrenchAngle: Yes, I can confirm that I am his fan, and yes, it is very frustrating! I did not realise it was 10 races with a no score this year. That is very bad. But the great moments he has, like Austria, show that if he can calm down a bit and get it right more often, he is going to do really well. I think on Suzuki he can be pretty good, even if there are likely to be more accidents at the start as he gets used to the new bike. I bet he won't have as many DNFs next year as 'Crash' Lowes though.

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