The Malaysian Grand Prix might have ended more ignominiously for race winner Andrea Dovizioso’s teammate Andrea Iannone on the other side of the factory Ducati garage, but the Austrian Grand Prix winner nonetheless walked away from Sepang pleased with his efforts despite crashing out of the race at the half-way-point.
Making his first return to race action since Silverstone after breaking his back in free practice for his home race at Misano back in September, the 2017 Suzuki rider was delighted after the race that he had returned with such strong pace.
“I’m very happy, because I rode for more than half the race at the front, I rode with Vale, and I came back from four races not sure of what my performance would be. Sure, it was possible to arrive at the podium in third place, but Marc and Cal’s crash was on the same lap as me. If I had saw on my pit board that they had crashed out I would have slowed down – but it was impossible to see that.
“For sure, I had a good advantage on Jorge, but in any case it’s important for me to come back in this way, to ride in both the wet and the dry and be fast, and to show that my condition is the best it could be.”
And while crashing out of podium contention was unplanned for the Italian, he also admitted that it came simply as a result of not having enough time on the bike and because he chose to sit out a wet free practice session to reduce the chances of further damaging his still-healing vertebrae.
“I asked a little more of the front tyre in braking than I should have, and I lost the front. But that’s because I didn’t ride ruing free practice two, and we didn’t have the chance to try something to improve the grip on the rear. I asked the team to, but we didn’t have time to try the different setting that Dovi used with some more kilos on the rear”