Sepang MotoGP: Dani Pedrosa wins to end rain jinx

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Dani Pedrosa scored the first wet weather Grand Prix victory of his career earlier today after he triumphed in atrocious conditions at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

The Repsol Honda rider was leading the way in monsoon conditions when the race was red flagged on lap 13, with Race Direction declaring conditions too dangerous to continue.

Cal Crutchlow, Andrea Dovizioso, Stefan Bradl, Randy de Puniet, Ivan Silva and Ben Spies had all crashed out by the time the red flags came out, with large patches of standing water forming around the track.

With seven laps still to be completed the race was scheduled to be restarted and run to full distance. But after waiting for over 30 minutes to check on the weather conditions the result was declared with no sign of the rain stopping at that stage.

Full world championship points were awarded and Pedrosa’s fifth win in the last six races cut Jorge Lorenzo’s points advantage to just 23 with two races remaining.

But it was the manner of Pedrosa’s victory that delighted the Spaniard, who has previously floundered in wet conditions.

Today’s success was a major breakthrough for the Repsol Honda rider, who has never won a Grand Prix in his career in the wet.

He took the lead from title rival Lorenzo at the final corner on lap 10 and immediately streaked away like he did in the Motorland Aragon and Twin Ring Motegi to score three wins on the spin in MotoGP for the first time in his career.

Lorenzo was unable to respond and he had an amazing escape right before the race was red flagged when he somehow saved a huge front-end slide at the final corner.

Casey Stoner took third to score his first podium since he returned from a serious ankle injury suffered in Indianapolis. Apprehensive a crash might damage his ankle again and finish his season, the Aussie admitted he was nervous about making a mistake.

He was left to secure a relatively safe third after Andrea Dovizioso tumbled out of fourth on lap 10, though the Italian did remount and finish 13th.

Nicky Hayden scored his season best result with fourth and Italian team-mate Valentino Rossi took fifth.

Alvaro Bautista completed the top six, which put another huge dent in Crutchlow’s bid to claim fifth in the final standings.

The British rider was lying in fifth when he lost the front-end of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 at the final corner on lap 11. He hit a patch of standing water and he now trails Bautista in fifth place in the championship by 19-points with just two races to go.

Texan Spies will undergo further checks on a damaged right shoulder in Australia after he fell out of 10th on lap nine. He is confident though he will be fit for next Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

British rider James Ellison equalled his best ever Grand Prix result with ninth and he was the second placed CRT rider.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt