Marquez sanction the talking point as Sepang gets underway
As the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang kicked off with the usual Thursday pre-race press conference with Repsol Honda Team duo Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, as well as Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, Marc VDS Racing Team’s Moto2™ leader Scott Redding and Red Bull KTM Ajo’s local Moto3™ talent Zulfahmi Khairuddin.
All eyes were pealed on Honda rider Marquez, who earlier in the day received one penalty point from Race Direction and will be stripped of the Constructors' Championship points for the Aragón Grand Prix after his touch with teammate Pedrosa.
Marquez commented: "In the end we need to respect that decision. We are ready and I want to be concentrated on this weekend. It will be interesting to see the track and my riding style, because my first real MotoGP test was here and now things have changed with the electronics and so on." Yet when prompted about whether the penalty will change his approach to racing he added: "I will not change."
Pedrosa, nursing a sore throat, was unwilling to share his thoughts on the matter: "About today: no comment. I have no comment because it is something between Race Direction and Marc. I am only a side effect of what happened in Aragon…Physically I have had a hard week. I started to improve at the end of last week, but I actually started to feel a bit better than I am now. I will see how the physical condition is tomorrow."
Lorenzo added a touch of irony to proceedings with his view on Marquez’s penalty point: “The Jerez action was a great show, and Silverstone, and Laguna when he passed Valentino outside of the track was a great show, so I think they should encourage that type of action to make an example to the young riders…I think they are wrong (about the one penalty point). They have too many penalties. They should have given him one more point in the championship!”
And on the weekend ahead he stated: “In Aragón we lost a good opportunity to win the world title, that is true, but clearly we weren’t’ competitive enough to fight until the last corner with Marc, to win like at Silverstone. Now the championship is more difficult, it’s almost impossible, but something special could happen with the race at 4 o’clock – there could be rain. We have to be concentrated to try and win whether it is here, Phillip Island or Motegi, and react to anything special that happens.”
Rossi, who has had great success at Sepang over the years, is looking forward to this weekend’s action: "Yes, this track is fantastic, it’s great, I like it a lot. It’s one of my favourites, but I think that’s the same for all of the riders, especially in MotoGP, as they know every centimetre of it as we spend a lot of time here in the winter. And so all of the top guys are very strong and fast at this track. The temperature will be difficult all weekend, but the track is very fun and you can make big slides. It’s a great enjoyment to ride here. We will see what happens."
Nicky Hayden, who has been linked with a move to Aspar for over a month now, was still not able to confirm a possible move at the end of the season, which will have been influenced by this evening’s other news that Aprilia’s influential Luigi Dall’Igna will move to Ducati next year: "Some things have changed in the last weeks, for sure. I think we’re a bit closer to a deal now, but I’m definitely staying in MotoGP. Just need to figure out what bike, what team and so on. I thought I would have it all tied up by now which isn’t the case, but I need to sort out the details and see where my next home is."
Redding, looking to beat his nearest rival Pol Espargaro to keep his championship lead, thinks the extra pressure will be good for him: "Yeah it’s going to be important, but also fun. To have the pressure like this, I also quite like it. I like Phillip Island and also Motegi. We know we are going to struggle a little bit here with the two straights, but you have to forget that little disadvantage and try and get a good handful of points."
Local boy Khairuddin, who broke his right wrist last time out in Aragon, has been declared fit for his home race: "I am really happy to be back home after the surgery in Barcelona last week. This morning we had a check in the Medical Centre to declare if I’m fit to race this weekend, which the doctor confirmed. I feel good with my body and my hands and everything looks really good. It was a little bit under pressure. Everybody in Malaysia is waiting and I am really happy that they have helped me to be fit for the race this weekend. I can move my hand now, it feels good and now tomorrow I can just forgot about that and concentrate on riding."
Earlier in the day some of the riders took to some pre-race activity as NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Mattia Pasini, PBM’s Michael Laverty, Team Calvo’s Maverick Viñales and Ana Carrasco, San Carlo Team Italia’s Romano Fenati, Maptaq SAG Zelos Team’s Marcel Schrotter, Red Bull KTM’s Arthur Sissis, his teammate Zulfahmi Khairuddin, Tech3’s Danny Kent, RW Racing GP’s Jasper Iwema, as well as GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Niccolo Antonelli, took to the track’s Go-Karting venue, to sharpen up the race-craft before the serious business gets underway on Friday. Sissis took the victory ahead of Kent and Pasini.
Parallel to this, the South East Asian Motorcycle Business Forum 2013 was also held today, to bring the main players from the motorcycle and racing industry together with key sponsors and figures in the Asian territory. Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta was joined by Repsol Honda Team Principle Livio Suppo, LCR Honda MotoGP Team CEO Lucio Cecchinello, as well as Shell Advance Motorcycle Oil Lubricant Global Brand Manager Koh Kar Tai, as they networked with many other key sponsors and local government representatives the day before the race.
- Tuesday, 17 December 2013
- Further collarbone surgery for Lorenzo
- Friday, 13 December 2013
- FIM updates 2014 MotoGP™ calendar
- Thursday, 12 December 2013
- #Rookie93MarcMarquez: 'Behind the Scenes' with the Champion
- Bridgestone’s Yamada looks back on 2013
- Wednesday, 11 December 2013
- PBM announces Broc Parkes for 2014
- Thursday, 5 December 2013
- A Post-season Catch-up: Tito Rabat
- Tuesday, 3 December 2013
- A Post-season Catch-up: Sandro Cortese
- Friday, 29 November 2013
- Terol: 'Ending season with win was extra bonus'
- Monday, 25 November 2013
- Rea seals full-time entry with AGT Rea Racing
- Wednesday, 20 November 2013
- Provisional 2014 Moto2™ entry list
- Monday, 18 November 2013
- Luthi sets pace in Monday Valencia test
- Friday, 15 November 2013
- Luthi fastest as Jerez test comes to an end
- Wednesday, 18 December 2013
- Kornfeil and Viñales to ride for Team Calvo in 2014
- Ana Carrasco to ride for RW Racing GP in 2014
- Friday, 22 November 2013
- Miller needs rest and recuperation after surgery
- Wednesday, 20 November 2013
- Provisional 2014 Moto3™ entry list
- Friday, 15 November 2013
- Miller once again on top in Jerez testing
- Thursday, 14 November 2013
- Miller quickest on first day of Moto3™ Jerez test
- Saturday, 9 November 2013
- Rins grabs pole for championship decider