MotoGP Sepang: Gossip, intrigue and rumour

| | MotoGP

It was another sad day for Jorge Lorenzo at Sepang and the former champion has written another chapter in the book of excuses, blaming almost everything a poor performance which saw him finish half a minute behind Maverick Vinales.

Lorenzo, who is surely now destined for retirement, said the heat affected his back injury which made preparation difficult. The turbulent air from the aero packages of those in front also caused problems… On the plus side, however, he said he managed consistent, if not fast, laptimes and took two points for the team championship.

He is still very wary of his back injury and isn’t fully prepared to put it all on the line until he knows for sure that his spine is as solid as it is ever going to get, but you do wonder that if that is going to be in a rider’s head, will he ever be able to race again as he is capable?

Newly-crowned and six-time F1 king Lewis Hamilton will trade his Mercedes W10 for Valentino Rossi’s YZR-M1 when the two do a swap later in the year - probably at Valencia in early December - in a fabulous publicity stunt for big and mututal sponsors Monster and Petronas.

Rossi’s prowess in cars is well documented but Hamilton is also no slouch on a bike, lapping quickly alongside Alex Lowes and Mickey van der Mark at Jerez early in the season - less than six seconds off the pace, it was rumoured.

The Doctor is set to race a Ferrari 488 GT3 at the Gulf 12 Hours at the Yas Marina circuit on the Saturday after the swap.

Rossi has also said he will make a decision on his future after the first few race of 2020. “I think I will stop after the coming season. I drive to Valencia - and say ‘ciao!’”

Aleix Espargaro ran over a photographer on his way back to the garage after Sunday’s race after being unsighted by spectators.

The Aprilia man went around the wandering punters but hadn’t seen the snapper who, in turn, wasn’t aware of the approaching RS-GP. “He had not seen me, but he was very lucky because I touched him only lightly. Such a heavy bike can do a great deal of damage,” said the Spaniard, who had to pick himself off the floor afterwards.

Riders are very unhappy with the current date of MotoGP at Phillip Island and would like it to be moved to the start of the season where better weather is guaranteed. However, the local council, which stumps up millions for the race, doesn’t want it to be too close to the Melbourne F1 date, for which it also forks out piles of cash. And there is the small matter of WorldSBK too.

Marc Marquez admitted his whopping highside in qualifying at Sepang was down to him following Fabio Quartararo too closely. When the young Frenchman changed direction, his Yamaha stuck but Marquez’ RC213V didn’t and up he went.

Cal Crutchlow has revealed his mashed ankle is causing him real pain, especially a nerve in his right ankle which causes a ‘massive problem’ as he can’t feel his toes for a while when he gets off his RC213V. The solution is either surgery after the Jerez tests or ‘drugs’.