Tough Sepang Race Takes Terol’s Title Challenge Down To The Wire
There are an almost infinite amount of variables that eventually decide race results over the course of a weekend, and that was again evident in the 125cc Malaysian Grand Prix. BANKIA Aspar riders Nico Terol and Héctor Faubel had shown superior pace in practice and qualifying, but were obliged to drop their rhythm on raceday due to the intense heat in Sepang. Terol started strong and led a group of seven riders for the opening laps, before that number was reduced to five: Terol, Faubel, Viñales, Zarco and Cortese. Viñales was the eventual winner, ahead of Cortese and Zarco.
Nico Terol began the race from pole and put down the fastest lap of the race, trying to break away at Sepang. The heat did him no favours and he had to ride in a more defensive manner during his twelve-lap spell as leader of the Malaysian Grand Prix. He had two scares once the tyres had begun to go off, and there would be another to follow: The BANKIA Aspar rider was forced to run off track to avoid crashing on turn five of the final lap, ending his shot at victory. He eventually placed fifth, and was overcome by the heat on the journey back to the pits. Taken immediately to the medical centre to be cooled down with ice and toreceive medical attention, he was able to leave the facility shortly after.
Héctor Faubel started from second, but his bike was feeling the strain of the temperatures and the engine was not functioning at peak performance. He moved his way back up to fourth after losing positions.
Adrián Martín also experienced mechanical issues, leading to his retirement on lap ten.
4th Héctor Faubel:
“Today’s race was extremely tough, thanks to the heat. I got a good start and tried to stick with Nico, who was alongside me, but I suddenly realised that the bike wasn’t running as well as it had previously done this weekend. It was hard to get the revs up and riders were streaming past me, but I was later able to find some speed. It is a pity, because I was closing others down on the brakes and going into corners, but I was getting left behind on the straights. I almost got taken out by Nico when he had his moment on the last lap -I thought that he had crashed- and I tried to slow Zarco down, but it wasn’t to be.”
5º Nico Terol:
“Today was, without a doubt, the hardest race of my life. That was down to the heat and the stress. Fortunately I was able to stay calm when the race got difficult later on. I focused on my own riding and wanted to break free from the leading group, because I knew that Zarco lacked a little pace on his own. I tried to make a move along with Maverick and made a late push, although I had little strength and tyre grip remaining. I slept very little last night and it was hard to concentrate, because I was only thinking about victory and winning the title. I had two scares on the penultimate lap, and then on the final time around I went knew that Zarco would have problems overtaking. If he were to have got past when I made a move on Cortese and Maverick, then I would have passed him back on the straight. A wobble on that last lap almost cost me a finish, but I am very happy that I was able to save it and finish fifth. It’s a positive result, as we still have a twenty point advantage going to Valencia. I felt faint as I came in, and I can say that I really gave absolutely everything to try and win today.”
Adrián Martín (DNF):
“I noticed a strange sound coming from my bike when I was on the grid, and the problem was confirmed when I began the race. We had an electrical issue that impeded the bike from getting the revs up. I came back to the garage in order to resolve the issue and finish the race, but in the end I had to give up the ghost. It is a pity, because I am convinced that we could have got a top eight finish -even if the weekend wasn’t as great for us as in Australia. There’s just one more chance now, and I am only thinking about doing well in Valencia at the final round.”
Source: Aspar Media