Team Suzuki Press Office – November 3.
Alex Rins: 5th (+ 6.350)
Joan Mir: 10th (+ 22.854)
• Alex Rins close to podium as he brings home 5th.
• Joan Mir battles through difficulties to Top 10 finish.
• Team look ahead to final race in Valencia.
Sepang International Circuit hosted the final in a three week long series of back-to-back races, and the penultimate round of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship. A bumper crowd packed out the Malaysian circuit as temperatures soared to over 30 degrees Celsius.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR came into the 20 lap race in a positive mood after a strong morning Warm-Up session which saw Joan Mir top the time sheets.
Alex Rins managed to hold his grid position of 7th in the early laps of the race, and he slotted into the feisty lead group. He soon made his way up to 6th, but seven laps into the race he was involved in a collision with Jack Miller at Turn 15, although the pair both stayed upright, Alex sustained damage to his aerodynamic fairing, with one of the aero ‘wings’ snapping off. One lap later he went into 5th place and began pursuing the battling duo of Rossi and Dovizioso ahead of him. Despite the damage, Rins impressively pushed on, getting very close to the podium. As the laps ticked on and the levels of grip on the circuit dropped off, Alex completed the race with an important 5th place. This result keeps him in the hunt for 3rd in the Championship.
Meanwhile, Joan Mir struggled a little in the early laps as he dropped to 15th place. However, the rookie was keen to progress up the order, and seven laps into the race he had already moved into 12th. His pace and rhythm continued to improve throughout the race, and he set his fastest lap of the race – Top 3 pace – with 9 laps to go. Joan swiftly made his way into a strong 8th place, despite suffering physically, but an incident involving Johann Zarco saw him receive a long lap penalty. The Mallorcan lost two positions but adds another Top 10 finish to his tally.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:
“Compared to the last two or three races, today has been quite good. Last year we were able to get 2nd place, so we came into this race with high expectations. In the end it didn’t quite work out as we’d hoped. Alex fought well to 5th place, and Joan was also doing very well before the penalty. Both riders had strong pace today, but the results don’t quite reflect that. We’re ready to go to the final race and end the season in good form.”
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“Today has been quite good. Alex did well and despite the damage to the fairing, and he got very close to the podium. We’re pleased with this 5th place. Joan didn’t feel very good physically, and he couldn’t quite show all his potential. He received a long lap penalty for something with we think was a racing incident. We have cleared the air with Johann Zarco, who actually came to apologise to us. But anyway, the decision went like that and we have to respect it. Overall, the weekend has been tough due to conditions, but we’ve had a solid race day.”
“It was a really difficult race because it was so hot and humid, but I tried to give my maximum. I felt a lack of traction at the beginning of the race, but it got better after a while and I was eventually able to catch Valentino and Dovi. In the end it wasn’t possible to over-take them, but I’m still pleased to bring home 5th. I’m really looking forward to going to Valencia, I hope we can enjoy the race there.”
“This was the hardest race of my life, physically I suffered a lot and I found I couldn’t breathe very well. This stems from the lung injury I sustained in Brno, in these humid conditions I find it very hard and it shows I’m not quite fully recovered. This affected my race, but in the end I could get another Top 10 and it’s all good experience for me. It will be nice to go home now and prepare for the final race in Spain.”
GP of Malaysia – Race Classification:
1. Maverick VIÑALES Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 40’14.632
2. Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team +3.059
3. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team +5.611
4. Valentino ROSSI Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +5.965
5. Alex RINS Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +6.350
6. Franco MORBIDELLI Petronas Yamaha SRT +9.993
7. Fabio QUARTARARO Petronas Yamaha SRT +12.864
8. Jack MILLER Pramac Racing +17.252
9. Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati Team +19.773
10. Joan MIR Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +22.854
11. Pol ESPARGARO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +24.821
12. Francesco BAGNAIA Pramac Racing +30.251
13. Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +30.447
14. Jorge LORENZO Repsol Honda Team +34.215
15. Mika KALLIO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +34.461
16. Hafizh SYAHRIN Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM +44.319
17. Karel ABRAHAM Reale Avintia Racing +47.343
5 Johann ZARCO LCR Honda IDEMITSU
35 Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda CASTROL
29 Andrea IANNONE Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
MotoGP World Championship Standings:
1. Marc MARQUEZ Honda 395
2. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 256
3. Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 201
4. Alex RINS Suzuki 194
5. Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 176
6. Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 172
7. Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 166
8. Jack MILLER Ducati 149
9. Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 133
10. Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 115
11. Pol ESPARGARO KTM 94
12. Joan MIR Suzuki 83
13. Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 74
14. Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 56
15. Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 54
16. Andrea IANNONE Aprilia 43
17. Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 33
18. Johann ZARCO KTM 30
19. Jorge LORENZO Honda 25
20. Tito RABAT Ducati 18
21. Stefan BRADL Honda 16
22. Michele PIRRO Ducati 9
23. Hafizh SYAHRIN KTM 8
24. Sylvain GUINTOLI Suzuki 7
25. Karel ABRAHAM Ducati 7
26. Mika KALLIO KTM 3
27. Bradley SMITH Aprilia