It was a dry, wet and wetter races for the Grand Prix. I had opted for the Hillstand B and I found out that it was not quite a hillstand as the area was somewhat level. The fans here had to be contented with the view of the races through two layers of perimeter fences around the circuit. No problem for just viewing the races but a problem if you want to take pictures of the riders.
Hillstand B at Sepang International Circuit and the weather
Camera for the aerial view of the races
Fans at grandstand facing the back straight
Fans at Hillstand B getting close to the action
As usual the race started with Moto3 category. Local ace Zulfahmi Khairuddin was on pole. It was a dry race in the beginning but then it started to drizzle very lightly towards the end of it. Nevertheless it was a full race on slick tyres. Local favourite Zulfahmi had led himself to be on second position after the start of the race until he saw droplets on his visor that he decided to make the move to the front. He held on to the lead position until the last lap. It was on turn thirteen that I heard someone said he had a slight twitch before turn thirteen and that was when I saw Cortese overtook him to take the lead. He took back the lead on the back straight only to make a mistake at turn fifteen and Cortese took the chance on it to win the race.
Here’s what he said to the local media New Straits Times,
“I knew we had the power and the right set-up for this race and I was able to be in the front pack. Starting from pole helped. I was just biding my time in the early part of the race as I learned from my experience, that I should (not) take the lead too early. So I allowed Jonas Folger to lead in the first nine laps,” said Zulfahmi, who is from Banting.
“Then I saw some drops of rain hit my visor and I knew if it began to rain, the race would be stopped. That was the moment when I pushed and took the lead, but in the end, it didn’t really rain until after the race. I know I could have won, but for a mistake that led me to slip on the penultimate corner, which allowed Cortese to take the lead.
“At that moment I tried to regain the lead, but I almost slipped as I hit a bump and we were at the last turn, so I thought it would be better to take second spot rather than crash and get nothing. I’m pretty satisfied with this result and I know the victory will come soon, maybe in the next race. I’m also really proud to have achieved it in front of such fantastic home support.”
Just after Moto3 the rain started for a short while and then stopped for the Moto2. Moto2 was declared a wet race. This race sprang a surprise. It was by a local wildcard Hafizh Syahrin. He was 27th position on the starting grid but end up in 4th position when the race was red flagged with two more laps to go due to rain.
Here’s what he said in the same above mentioned media,
“When I saw what Zulfahmi achieved, I just believed that I could do it too. Everything else didn’t matter. And when it began to rain, my mechanic called out ‘Pescao, come here’ and he showed me that it was raining. That drove my confidence up even more,” said Hafizh.
“From the start, the conditions were really my favourite and I just began overtaking them one by one, I didn’t care that I was starting from 27th, I just believed that I could do it each time I saw a rider in front of me,” said Hafizh.
“But the effort in pushing from 27th to first spot had caused a lot of degradation of my rear tyre. Then when it began to rain again, I didn’t have the grip I required from the rear tyre. It was hard to hold on and I dropped down to fourth after I was overtaken by Alex de Angelis, Anthony West and Gino Rea.”
MotoGP was also declared a wet race and it was also red flagged. This time it was earlier in the race, after lap 13 with six more laps to go. I did not have the freedom to photograph much in this event and the event before because of the rain. From the few bursts of shots that I had, only a few of it were worth it. Those few shots that I had of MotoGP I shall be posting it in a new post after I get it cleaned.
MotoGP: 1 Dani Pedrosa (Spa) Repsol Honda 29:29.049s, 2 Jorge Lorenzo (Spa) Yamaha 29:32.738s, 3 Casey Stoner (Aus) Repsol Honda 29:36.193s, 4 Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati 29:39.207s, 5 Valentino Rossi (Ita) Ducati 29:45.808s, 6 Alvaro Bautista (Spa) San Carlo Honda Gresini 29:46.325s, 7 Hector Barbera (Spa) Pramac Ducati 30:19.331s, 8 Pol ESpargaro (Spa) Power Electronics-Aspar-ART 30:20.634s, 9 James Ellison (Gbr) Paul Bird Motorsport-ART 30.25.725s, 10 Karel Abraham (Cze) Cardion AB-Ducati 30:26.671s. *Race stopped due to heavy rain after 13 laps.
Moto2: 1 Alex de Angelis (Rsm) NGM Mobile-Forward Racing-FTR 36:57.793s, 2 Anthony West (Aus) QMMF-Speed Up 36:58.503s, 3 Gino Rea (Gbr) Federal Oil-Gresini-Suter 36:59.156s, 4 Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah (Mas) Petronas Raceline Malaysia-FTR 37:00.734s, 5 Julian Simon (Spa) Blusens Avintia-Suter 37:05.376s, 6 Andrea Iannone (Ita) Speed Master-Speed Up 37:07.855s, 7 Mika Kalio (Fin) Marc VDS-Kalex 37:20.871s, 8 Bradley Smith (Gbr) Tech3 37:24.750s, 9 Dominique Aegerter (Sui) Technomag-CIP-Suter 37:27.856s, 10 Esteve Rabat (Spa) Tuenti Movil HP40-Kalex 37:29.307s.
*Race red flagged and classification after 15 laps taken as official.
Moto3: 1 Sandro Cortese (Ger) Red Bull KTM-Ajo 40:54.123s, 2 Mohd Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Mas) AirASia-SIC-Ajo-KTM 40:54.151s, 3 Jonas Folger (Ger) Mapfre Aspar-Kalex KTM 40:54.370s, 4 Luis Salom (Spa) RW Racing-Kalex KTM 41:02.626s, 5 Miguel Oliveira (Por) Estrella Galicia-Suter Honda 41:02.797s, 6 Danny Kent (Gbr) Red Bull KTM-Ajo 41:03.458s, 7 Alex Rins (Spa) Estrella Galicia-Suter Honda 41:13.096s, 8 Efren Vasquez (Spa) JHK t-shirt-FTR Honda 41:19.542s, 9 Niklas Ajo (Fin) TT Motion-KTM 41:24.837s, 10 Adrian Martin (Spa) JHK t-shirt-FTR Honda 41:24.886s.