Sepang MotoGP: Gino Rea third in Malaysian monsoon

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British rider Gino Rea scored his first Grand Prix podium in atrocious conditions at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia today.

The Gresini Moriwaki rider was actually leading the delayed 19-lap Moto2 race when Race Direction had no choice but to throw the red flag on lap 16, with conditions rapidly becoming too dangerous to continue as monsoon conditions struck the Sepang track.

With the final standings declared at the end of lap 15, Rea finished third behind winner Alex de Angelis and Assuie wet weather specialist Anthony West.

The race was delayed by over 30 minutes after heavy rain fell shortly after the earlier Moto3 race.

The race started on a wet track but quickly dried as conditions improved but Rea was always in contention for a sensational victory after showing his wet weather-riding prowess with a stunning surge from 22nd on the grid.

He was constantly exchanging overtakes with de Angelis and West, with the battle at one stage a four-rider scrap after Malaysian wild card Hafizh Syahrin threatened a major shock when he led on lap 12.

By that stage though the rain had turned torrential again and as Syahrin faded to fourth, it was left to Rea, de Angelis and West to scrap it out for the win.

A brilliant overtake at the final corner on lap 16 moved Rea into the lead, but the red flags came out just moments later as the rain got heavier and heavier and visibility became a major issue.

The adverse weather conditions served up a dramatic race for a huge Sepang crowd, with Marc Marquez blowing a golden chance to wrap up the world title.

He was running in eighth when he crashed out at Turn 9 on lap 13 while he had one hand on the championship trophy.

The Spaniard will now go to Phillip Island with a 48-point lead over title rival Pol Espargaro.

Espargaro ensured the champagne was put on hold for at least another week after he finished in 11th.

Bradley Smith braved the pain of two broken toes on his left foot to finish in a gutsy eighth, while Scott Redding faded after a strong start to finish 12th.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt