Casey Stoner and his Ducati clubbed everyone else over the head again (yawn) at Sepang in Malaysia last weekend. Spanish wicked midget Dani Pedrosa had pole on his factory Repsol Honda and eventually finished third – and although the first three, indeed the first five, stayed close for the entire contest, it never looked like much of a “race,” like with people passing and all.
Stoner led from start to finish, although the gap back to first Pedrosa and later Marco Melandri (who finished second on his Gresini Honda) fluctuated up and down the entire race. Both Stoner and Melandri confessed after the race to making a lot of mistakes and “gapping” themselves a lot – perhaps a function of the high heat and humidity. Stoner said he’d actually felt physically ill during the race, something he’s never said before.
The 250 race was a cracker, as they say, or a complete butt-f*ck as they say in less polite circles. Jorge Lorenzo (who’s jumping into Moto GP in 2008 as Valentino Rossi’s official Yamaha team-mate) clinched his second consecutive 250 cc world title, but not without help from KTM rider Mika Kallio.
Kallio managed to take out Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso, who was leading at the time and was the only rider able to challenge Lorenzo for the title – it certainly wasn’t deliberate, but Kallio completely f*cked up a braking maneuver while chasing Dovizioso, and only stayed up by hitting the Honda rider, knocking Dovizioso down and himself upright.
Winner in all the confusion was Kallio’s KTM team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama, taking his second victory of the year. Second was Hector Barbera, a former team-mate and clear non-friend of Lorenzo, who recovered from his knock-down to finish with enough points to take the title.
Oh, and double U.S. superbike champ Ben Spies didn’t get to ride a Suzuki Moto GP bike at Sepang, as he’d hoped. Torrential rains washed out the Monday practice day, and he’s not likely to be on the tap for the post-race Monday at Valencia in two weeks, since Suzuki hopes to test a new bike and also give new rider Loris Capirossi some time on said machine.