Enea Bastianini Returns to Form and Plays Spoiler in Malaysia
Enea Bastianini won the Malaysian Grand Prix in a surprising and dominant fashion. It has been an uphill climb for Bastianini as he hasn’t been the same this season after suffering early season injuries that required surgery. In Malaysia he appeared to be a man reborn after surging to the top and playing spoiler in the heated battle for the championship title between Jorge Martin and teammate Francesco Bagnaia. Sprint race winner Alex Marquez double down on podium finishes finishing P2 behind Bastianini. Bagnaia finish in third 7 seconds ahead of Jorge Martin in fourth.
Bastianini Comment on the Victory
Bastianini had the following words after the race, “It’s fantastic and emotional to get back to winning after a difficult period. Today I didn’t want anything else, I just wanted to win, I didn’t care about the rest, and I knew I could do it. In the race I pushed from the start as in qualifying, maintaining the gap, but I was totally at the limit, and couldn’t give anything more but in the end, the victory came. I think that something exploded inside me this weekend and I went back to having fun.
Certainly, one of the keys is that we modified the engine braking strategy, coming into line with what we saw from Thailand. What changed also was that I am not continually making mistakes when braking, which until recently happened every lap. I’ve always said that when you get back to having fun, you also go a lot faster.”
Bagnaia and Martin are now separated by 14 points as we head into the final two race weekends of the season. With 2 sprint races and 2 grand prix left in the season. The race for points is coming down to the wire. Alex Marquez and Enea Bastianini forced a fight behind in both the sprint and grand prix at Sepang. The two went toe to toe all weekend leaving it all on the track. The finishes this weekend eliminated Marco Bezzecchi from title contention completely. He was the only other rider that could have mathematically made a late run for the title besides Martin and Bagnaia.
Yamaha Bags Two Top 10 Finishes
Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli both finished in the top 10 in the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Yamahas have been behind in terms of development in 2023 in comparison to the Ducatis. However, in the last few races the Yamaha have shown glimpses of improvement. 2023 is over for Yamaha but valuable data is to be gained for 2024. Quartararo stated, “I’m happy. I had a great start and great first lap. It took us so long to overtake Jack, so we lost a lot of tire performance because of tire consumption. But I’m feeling happy. I think the top 5 was the best result we could get today. Being able to fight today was a good mentality boost.”
Morbidelli added his comments, “It was a positive weekend and Race. We were able to be consistent in the Race and recover many positions. I’m happy with the job we’ve done this weekend, and after a strong Race I’m even happier. Today the bike was working very well, and we were able to be fast on the straight and overtake.”