by Nico Cereghini
No one forgot Supersic. The world remembered Simoncelli and witnessed Fausto Gresini hold an emotional plaque installation ceremony at the corner where the young rider lost his life one year ago. Well done. Then the show began, at least for the two "lesser" categories: Sandro Cortese, who has dominated the season, wanted a win on his Austrian KTM to secure the World Title Championship which was an almost mathematical certainty. Alex De Angelis finally got his winning form back after a difficult year.
The Moto3 race was a titanic battle with local hero Khairuddin finally in with a good chance of winning. He led for most of the race with a clean, feisty and tough style but failed in his effort to become the first Malaysian to win a World Championship race when Cortese passed him at the last corner. Although born in Germany, Sandro's parents are from Calabria (as anyone who has seen them party will testify). Folger came home third after a good start but was let down by a lack of top speed on the straights. Salom crossed the line in fourth followed by Oliveira, Kent, Rins, Vazquez and Ajo. Vinales didn't race following a split with his team.
De Angelis won a year ago in Australia and did well to do so again at Sepang under treacherous conditions. He beat West and a surprisingly competitive Gino Rea who took his first podium finish. Marquez was a faller but given the points difference between him and Espargaro, who was outside the top ten, could have secured the Championship here. The surprise of the race was the Malaysian rider Syharin on his Petronas FTR machine. He led for several laps and just missed out on the podium. Simon came home fifth followed by Iannone, Pol Espargaro came eleventh and now lies 48 points behind the leader with just two races to go.
The weather conditions for the MotoGP race were disastrous and the race was stopped on lap fourteen due to torrential rain and standing water everywhere. The results were taken from lap thirteen making Pedrosa the winner even on water where despite everything he was still the fastest rider on the track. Dani and his Honda have become the perfect match. This was his sixth win of 2012 (like Lorenzo) and his fifth out of the last six races (including Misano where Barbera took him out). His rival from Yamaha took his "usual" second place following his attempt to make a gap, getting caught then getting left behind. An aggressive Stoner crossed the line in third after making up a lot of ground on Lorenzo.
Hayden rode well to come home fourth a few seconds after Stoner and in front of Valentino who had started well ahead of his team mate and wasn't too far off a virtual podium place. A mistake by Rossi however dropped him to six seconds behind the American. The Ducatis went bad at Sepang and although both Nicky and Vale had identical falls in practice, they were blessed by good fortune during the race with the mistakes made by others in front of them like Dovizioso (who finished thirteenth), Crutchlow and Bradl. There were a lot of falls, luckily with no serious consequences and the rain simply got worse. Spies, De Puniet, Edwards and Silva were among fallers most of whom came off at turn 7. Petrucci and Pirro came home eleventh and twelfth ahead of Dovizioso and Rolfo.
Jorge Lorenzo's lead in the Championship has now been whittled down to 23 points. While that may seem a lot, it is by no means unreachable when all that remains is the race in Australia next Sunday then Valencia a fortnight later. All it takes is one mistake to score no points and the fact that Pedrosa can actually win is clear for all to see.