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January 24, 2018

Rossi aims to cement second MotoGP spot in Sepang

Kuala Lumpur (AFP) – Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi is looking to take a major step towards securing second place in the world championship over teammate Jorge Lorenzo at the Malaysian MotoGP this weekend.

The Italian great is eight points clear of the Spaniard going into Sunday’s penultimate race in Sepang following his win at Phillip Island, Australia, just a few days ago.

With Spanish sensation Marc Marquez crowned the championship winner earlier this month, second place is the best Rossi, 35, and Lorenzo, 27, could hope for but are determined to secure it.

Rossi has won seven premier class titles in Malaysia but will be aware that the last of those was in 2010. The Italian was only able to finish fourth last year, one place behind Lorenzo.

He will also be conscious of the 5.5 kilometre (3.4 mile) track’s unique challenges, particularly the often difficult weather conditions with high temperatures and heavy tropical rain.

“Apart from the temperature being a bit too high for MotoGP racing, I really like the Malaysian track,” Rossi told MotoGP.com.

“I will do my best to win again. I got my second win of the season and now I want to fight for second place in the championship.”

Honda’s Spanish star Dani Pedrosa won last time round pipping teammate Marquez into second, with Lorenzo finishing third. Pedrosa also triumphed in 2012.

“I look forward to racing at Sepang, it’s a nice track,” said Lorenzo on MotoGP.com.

“I would like to be competitive again, especially because I want to fight for second place in the championship.”

For Marquez this year’s race is a chance to atone for that loss, free of pressure with the world championship title already in the bag.

The 21-year-old has added motivation and won’t be taking his foot off the pedal as he bids to equal Australian Mick Doohan’s record of 12 wins in a single season.

Marquez, who last year became MotoGP’s youngest world champion is also looking to bounce back after crashing out at Phillip Island on Sunday.

“The race in Australia didn’t end as how I would’ve liked and to crash 10 laps from the end is infuriating,” he said.

“I will be going for the win in Malaysia and give it everything I’ve got in one of my favourite circuits,” Marquez added on his Repsol Honda blog.

The Spaniard secured the championship in Japan this month but organisers insist that hasn’t dampened ticket sales, with 65,000 tickets already sold.

The spotlight will also be on driver safety, three years after Sepang witnessed one of its darkest moments when Italian rider Marco Simoncelli died after coming off his bike.

“We will ensure the safety of riders,” the circuit’s chief executive officer Razlan Razali said.

The last MotoGP race of the season will be in Valencia, Spain, next month.

Source – 

Rossi aims to cement second MotoGP spot in Sepang

Motorcyling: Marquez equals season pole record in Australian MotoGP

Newly-crowned world champion Marc Marquez will start off pole position for Sunday’s Australian MotoGP as the fastest qualifier.

The Spanish Repsol Honda rider clocked one minute 28.408 seconds in Saturday qualifying to finish ahead of Ducati’s Cal Crutchlow by 0.234secs, with Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo a further eight-hundredths of a second away third.

It was the 21-year-old Spaniard’s 12th pole of the year to equal the most poles in a season, previously held by Australian Casey Stoner.

“I’m really happy to be on the pole after winning the title in Japan,” Marquez said.

“It will be a tough race tomorrow especially Yamaha (Lorenzo), they are very strong and they have a good pace.

“But I was able to ride well, I was consistent, and we are ready to fight for the victory tomorrow.”

It was Marquez’s 21st career pole as he chases his first premier class victory at the Phillip Island circuit after winning a 125cc race in 2010.

Marquez secured this year’s world title in Japan last weekend with three races remaining in the season.

Lorenzo is battling Marquez’s Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi for second place overall in the championship, with the trio separated by just three points.

“Everyone has struggled this weekend to get the grip with the tyres and we are half a second to one second slower than we were last year here,” Lorenzo said.

“It’s the same for everyone. It’s good, third place, my rivals Rossi and Pedrosa are behind me so I’m happy.”

Lorenzo, who won last year’s MotoGP at Phillip Island on the way to losing the world championship by four points to Marquez, is coming off back-to-back wins at Aragon and Motegi.

Pedrosa was fifth fastest in qualifying after having to go through repechage qualifying while Rossi, a nine-time world champion through the classes, was eighth.

The Italian great, 35, has finished on the podium 14 times in 17 visits to Phillip Island across all three GP classes.

The 4.448-kilometre (2.764 mile) circuit, located on the shores of the storm-tossed Bass Strait, is a season classic for the world’s top riders with its sweeping blend of seven left-handers and five right-handers.

From:  

Motorcyling: Marquez equals season pole record in Australian MotoGP

Danish Police Arrest Sea Shepherd Team Trying to Stop Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter

The Royal Danish Navy arrested 14 volunteers from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society on Saturday for trying to intervene in the slaughter of 33 pilot whales in the Faroe Islands, a protectorate of Denmark.

A team of six Sea Shepherd volunteers spotted a pod of pilot whales from shore on Sandoy Island in the remote North Atlantic archipelago on Saturday and alerted Sea Shepherd’s small flotilla of boats, which has been patrolling the icy waters for nearly three months. Sea Shepherd has been trying to stop the annual Faroese whale hunt known as ;grindadráp, or grind.

During the grind, islanders drive pilot whales and dolphins into shallow bays, where the animals are butchered to the cheers of locals watching from shore.

On Saturday, Sea Shepherd volunteers arrived at the beach where the whales were spotted before the whalers could reach the site. The Royal Danish Navy immediately dispatched a helicopter and high-speed inflatable boats to the island and arrested the six land-based volunteers who had waded into the water to protect the whales as well as eight crew members aboard three Sea Shepherd vessels. The boats and all camera and video equipment were confiscated, according to Sea Shepherd’s Paul Watson.

“There is a new law in the islands that says unauthorized people must stay at least one mile away from the grind,” said Watson in a phone interview. “Our attorney advised us to say we were only there as observers, but we said, ‘Absolutely not.’ We aren’t there to observe. We’re there to try and stop the killing.”

Sea Shepherd’s anti-whaling campaign in the Faroes, dubbed “Operation GrindStop 2014,” deploys drones and live video feeds to document the slaughter while land- and sea-based volunteers attempt to drive the whales away from their would-be killers. (The Faroe Islands campaign is funded in part by the Skoll Foundation, part of the Jeff Skoll Group, which includes Participant Media, TakePart’s parent company.)

The 14 volunteers have been released and their possessions returned, except for the data cards in their photography equipment. The land-based team of six are scheduled to appear in court on Monday, while the eight sea-based crew members will not have a hearing until Sept. 25.

According to Sea Shepherd, the government wants to hold the vessels as evidence until then.

One of the boats is a 40-foot Zodiac, the BS Sheen, donated by actor Charlie Sheen.

“The Faroese whalers brutally slaughtered an entire pod of 33 pilot whales today,” Sheen said in a statement. “I am proud that a vessel bearing my name was there and did all it could to try to stop this atrocity.”

Denmark, he added, “is complicit in the killing.”

Watson noted that Denmark’s defense of the whalers violates its commitment as a European Union member to oppose whaling.

“One good thing is that this gives us concrete evidence of the Danish navy and police supporting the grind,” said Watson. “The Faroes are not part of the EU, but they are a Danish protectorate. They get EU subsidies through Denmark. This now gives us a case to take to the European Parliament for a complaint.”

Despite the whale slaughter and the arrests, Watson said this season has been a success for Sea Shepherd and the whales.

“It was inevitable that they’d have a whale kill, but we managed to stop them for the past 85 days,” he said.

Watson said Sea Shepherd diverted 270 whales from the islands over the summer.

;In 2010, whalers killed 964 whales, and last year the number rose to 1,360. This season’s toll has only been the 33 pilot whales, along with five beached beaked whales that were slaughtered by islanders.

“Many Danes continue to argue that Denmark is not a whaling nation,” Watson wrote on his Facebook page. “The actions of the Danish Navy and the Danish police demonstrate that Denmark is very much a whaling nation.”

Related stories on TakePart:

Sea Shepherd to Deploy Drones to Stop Massive Whale Slaughter

The Drone War That Is Helping Save the World’s Wildlife

SeaWorld Gives Up Fight to Keep Trainers in the Water With Killer Whales

The Dolphin-Killing Season Is About to Begin in Japan; Here’s What You Can Do About It

Original article from TakePart

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Danish Police Arrest Sea Shepherd Team Trying to Stop Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter