2004 MotoGP Sepang Results

October 10, 2004
Ken Hutchison
Ken Hutchison
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The ulcers keep piling on for the warden of the MotoUSA asylum. With the inmates running rampant around the globe, Hutch has opted to get in on the madness more these days than in years past and is back in the saddle again.

Valentino Rossi took a huge step towards the 2004 MotoGP championshp with a win at Sepang.
Valentino Rossi showed his championship form at the Malaysian GP, taking advantage of his position on pole on the way to another huge victory aboard the Gauloises Yamaha M1.

Gauloises Yamaha’s Valentino beat his nemesis, Camel Honda’s Max Biaggi by nearly four seconds and extended his championship lead to 30 points over Sete Gibernau. Alex Barros finished third with his Repsol Honda teammate, Nicky Hayden behind him in fourth.

It was a terrible afternoon for the Telefonica Movistar Honda team, although on the bright side, they did score some points. The thing is, Gibernau had trimmed Rossi’s lead to 14 points heading into this round at Speang, but his disappointing seventh place finish dropped him so far back that it will take a complete failure by the Gauloises Yamaha team in the final three rounds for anyone to catch Rossi. Edwards slips from the fourth in the championship to fifth, behind Alex Barros. 

Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Yamaha) – Winner
“That was a brilliant race. It was very important for me to make a good result here, especially after Qatar. We were very motivated, not only me but also all the mechanics, because what happened in Qatar was bad for us. We made two good tests in the winter at Sepang and we have done a lot of kilometres. We have improved the bike at this track, and I like the place a lot. Today the bike worked very well, even if the race was difficult. I made a good start, but Barros made a better one. I followed him and tried to attack. I thought it was possible to go faster than the 2:03s or 2:04s but today we had seven or eight degrees more temperature than yesterday and that made it very tough for the riders and the tires. After Barros, Biaggi arrived, and we had a very good rhythm for all 21 laps. With 30 points it is a good advantage but we need to keep concentration at 100% because the championship lead was 39 points before Qatar, then much less after it. The battle is only over when it’s over, and it’s certainly not over yet!”

Max Biaggi (Camel Honda) – 2nd
“It wasn´t an easy race because I had to come from behind on the grid and I needed a good start. I did quite well, but then I had to pass Nicky, Checa and Barros, three real battlers in the early stages and with fresh tires. We all made errors, the conditions were really extreme, but in the end I managed to get by. I lost time however and had taken a lot out of the tires. When I cut the gap to Rossi to a second I had a couple of surprises which made me realize how close to the limit we were, both he and I. In any case today he rode very well and I think he would have won anyway. I want to thank my team and Honda again, because together we have done a good job and we have returned to the podium after three tough races.”

Alex Barros (Repsol Honda) – 3rd
“At the beginning of the race we had some problem with the front tire – the temperature increase has been so much over the practice days. I suffered a little more than I expected. Halfway through the race I nearly loose the front two or three times so I just try to keep concentrated and keep my rhythm. Over the last few races we have had some real bad luck with running off the track and not getting the results I know we are capable of. Today I am just happy to be able to get on the podium; it is the best we can expect today.”

Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda) – 4th
“It was so hot out there. The heat really changed the grip levels on the track from how it had been all weekend. It felt really greasy. The last few days I’ve really been improving my pace – the team has done a real good job and we’ve really seen a step-up. I was riding really aggressively this morning and it all felt good. We were bottoming out on the forks a little under braking so we made some adjustments but they was no way I could be so aggressive in the race. I got an awesome start – which I was due this season but locked up a bit on the back straightaway. In the end I guess it was a respectable fourth and I’m looking forward to getting on to Phillip Island.”

Makoto Tamada (Camel Honda)- 5th
“The clutch worked well at the start, but in the early stages I wasn’t as competitive as I should have been and the other went better. With a poor start to the race you get stuck in the middle of the traffic and you have to fight back without being able to get into a rhythm. With a much higher temperature than the other days, I thought I would be in a better shape than the others, but it wasn’t to be. I wanted more from this race. Now we go to Australia, with very different weather conditions, but we will do our best to go well.”

Sete Gibernau (Telefonica MoviStar Honda)- 7th
“I don’t want to start looking for excuses – we’ve had a bad weekend in general, both myself and the team. Things haven’t gone well for us this weekend – we were unable to solve the problems we had in qualifying and the situation got worse in the race. Despite everything we have to keep working and never lose hope.”

Carlos Checa (Fortuna Yamaha) – 9th
“I had a lot of chatter from the rear and I lost some places. In some areas it was not so bad but with the chatter and the spinning rear I was not able to get the drive on Sete and the rest, and pass them on the brakes. Even after three or four laps it was happening. It was quite frustrating because I had riders in front that I knew I could lap, and I could not pass them.”

Colin Edwards (Telefonica MoviStar Honda) – 11th
“I am disappointed with this result because the chattering problem has prevented me from setting a fast pace all weekend. Hopefully I’ll have a better feeling in Australia at a circuit which I love and I’ll be able to be fighting for a top result again.

MotoGP Results:
1. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha)
2. Max Biaggi (Honda)
3. Alex Barros (Honda)
4. Nicky Hayden (Honda)
5. Makoto Tamada (Honda)
6. Loris Capirossi (Ducati)
7. Sete Gibernau (Honda)
8. Shinya Nakano (Kawasaki)
9. Carlos Checa (Yamaha)
10. Troy Bayliss (Ducati)
11. Colin Edwards (Honda)
12. Norick Abe (Yamaha)
13. Ruben Xaus (Ducati)
14. Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki)
15. Jeremy McWilliams (Aprilia)

MotoGP Championship:
1. Valentino Rossi, 254
2. Sete Gibernau, 224
3. Max Biaggi, 188
4. Alex Barros, 144
5. Colin Edwards, 136

250 MotoGP Results:
1. Daniel Pedrosa (Honda)
2. Sebastien Porto (Aprilia)
3. Toni Elias (Honda)
4. Alex De Angelis (Aprilia)
5. Randy De Puniet (Aprilia)
6. Franco Bataini (Aprilia)
7. Fonsi Nieto (Aprilia)
8. Hugo Marchand (Aprilia)
9. Chaz Davies (Aprilia)
10. Naoki Matsudo (Yamaha)

250 MotoGP Championship:
1. Daniel Pedrosa, 279
2. Sebastien Porto, 231
3. Randy De Puniet, 198
4. Toni Elias, 168
5. Alex De Angelis, 127