MotoGP »

Rossi wins Sepang after Capirossi showdown.

A relentless race long battle between Valentino Rossi and Loris Capirossi went down to the final turn of Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang - as the reigning MotoGP World Champion took another chunk out of Nicky Hayden's points lead.

Rossi, who started from pole at the front of a 'unique' grid decided by free practice times after the cancellation of qualifying due to standing water, lost out to Capirossi and the injured Dani Pedrosa into turn one - but barged past them both to lead in the space of two corners.

Capirossi, the pre-event favourite, responded by outbraking his way back past the Yamaha rider into the final hairpin at the end of lap two - but couldn't break away from Rossi, and resorted to letting the Italian back past on lap 7 of 21.

The decision looked to have backfired when the amazing Pedrosa, riding with four stitches bridging a gaping wound in his knee, used the opportunity to pounce for second position, but Capirossi regrouped and repassed the 20-year-old Spaniard to be back within 0.3secs of Rossi's rear wheel as the halfway mark arrived.

Pedrosa, who could barely walk, gradually lost touch with the leaders in the second half of the race, leaving a fascinating Rossi vs. Capirossi duel. The Italians played cat and mouse with each other, each refusing to fully reveal their hand, until Capirossi launched a determined attack to retake the lead on lap 17.

The #65, winner last time out at Brno and last year at Sepang, then attempted to break the reigning champion - but Rossi and his Michelins were able to reel Capirossi and his Bridgestones back in on the exit of the tighter corners, then regain the lead with a premeditated move on lap 19.

This time it was Rossi who attempted to make a break, but Capirossi responded and the pair rode side-by-side along the home straight to start the penultimate lap, with Loris shouldering his way ahead through the right-left first chicane. Rossi hit back later on, but ran wide on the exit and allowed Capirossi to squeeze in front - then The Doctor made what looked to be a potentially race losing mistake with an off-line entry into the final hairpin.

That gave Capirossi a 0.6secs advantage as the last lap began, but Rossi charged hard and again made ground through the middle of the lap - and was ready to strike. The #46 jumped for the inside, nudging Capirossi off line in the process, to lead with just a long straight and the final hairpin to go.

Realising that Capirossi's potent Desmosedici could gain ground on the straight, Rossi took an ultra-defensive line heading into the final hairpin - but out-braked himself and slid sideways past the apex. That should have given Capirossi the opening he was looking for, but the double 2006 race winner also out-braked himself in his desperation to win - and ran even further wide.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Rossi 1st, Capirossi 2nd, Pedrosa 3rd, Malaysian MotoGP 2006.
Capirossi, Rossi, Malaysian MotoGP 2006.
Capirossi leads, Malaysian MotoGP 2006.
Hayden after crash, Australian MotoGP 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Crutchlow, Vinales, Australian MotoGP 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Lorenzo Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Lorenzo, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, throwing knee sliders in to the crowd, Australian MotoGP Race 2016

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.