Pedrosa weathers Malaysian rain
SPLASHING ABOUT IN SEPANG: Dani Pedrosa claimed a rain-shortened Malaysian Grand Prix as he continues to cut into Jorge Lorenzo's championship lead.
Author: Amlan Chakraborty
SEPANG, Malaysia - Dani Pedrosa put on a wet-weather master class to capture a rain-shortened Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday, October 21, 2012 and keep the pressure on MotoGP championship leader Jorge Lorenzo after notching a fifth victory in six races.
The Honda rider was clear of the field after 13 of the scheduled 20 laps at a rain-swept Sepang International Circuit when the race was red-flagged because of dangerously wet conditions.
LORENZO'S LEAD CUT
Pole-starter Lorenzo held on to second place on his Yamaha as the weather deteriorated with World champion Casey Stoner crossing the line third on another Honda.
With torrential rain continuing to lash the circuit, the race could not be re-started, giving Pedrosa his first victory in Malaysia as the Spaniard continued his audacious late-season title push.
Pedrosa told reporters: "In the beginning I was trying to follow Jorge. For the first lap he was very fast but the track was not so bad so I could get some rhythm and tried to be constant on the lap times.
"I'm very, very happy today. It's my first win in wet, it's a great feeling."
The win enabled Pedrosa (307) to cut fellow Spaniard Lorenzo's (330) lead in the championship to 23 points with two races left and a maximum of 50 points available.
Pedrosa started behind Lorenzo in what was declared a wet race but was soon breathing down the 2010 World champion's neck as the pair pulled clear of the pack.
The 27-year-old snatched the lead just past the scheduled halfway-point and never looked like being challenged by Lorenzo as several riders crashed out on the slippery surface.
STONER LACKING CONFIDENCE
Lorenzo was lucky to survive a heavy wobble seconds before the race was red-flagged as his bike threatened to lose traction through the hairpin before the home straight. He said later: "I'm very, very lucky. Once you drop here it means a much more difficult championship... the second place is a very good result for the championship."
He failed to convert pole into a victory for a sixth consecutive time.
Australia's Stoner recorded his first podium finish since returning from an ankle surgery in August 2012 while Ducati's Nicky Hayden was fourth, ahead of team mate Valentino Rossi.
Stoner said he lacked confidence after the injury and could not match the early pace of his Honda and Yamaha rivals. "I was just trying to keep myself ahead of people, trying to get nice, clean exits but there was no way I could run at the pace of these two in the beginning."
Things, however, could have been different had it been a full race, Stoner said. "When the rain started coming down, it's always sort of my playground. When it's heavy rain, we normally find a bit of higher pace than everyone else. Honestly, if the race had gone through to the full distance, I think we had a very good chance of winning."
Yamaha's Ben Spies suffered a premature end to his race thanks to a severe crash and was taken to the medical centre to check on a shoulder injury.