A mistake costs Odendaal a promising result in Malaysia
The final round of the traditional overseas triple-header kicked off last weekend in Sepang (Malaysia) with scorching temperatures and tricky weather conditions on the agenda for all three 2018 MotoGP World Championship classes. Between wet, mixed and dry conditions, Steven Odendaal and his Team NTS RW Racing GP were trying to prepare for every scenario with very limited time at hand.
“Our morning sessions were wet or mixed, while the qualifying was dry and so was the race in the end. No one knew what to expect and for us having never raced here before with the NTS, it was difficult to keep up. Me and my crew were doing our best. We had to adapt our set-up from Australia to suit the hard braking areas of the Sepang circuit. I felt quite comfortable and finished inside the Top20 in each free practices session. Qualifying did not go to plan as I got held up on my quickest lap and ended up 24th. We knew the race was going to be difficult with these temperatures and humidity. Unfortunately I got a bad start, dropped down to 27th after the first lap and had to catch the group in front of me. My pace was quite strong as I was catching the guys in front of me quite quickly but then I made a mistake running wide and losing 2,5 seconds. I had to catch up again and burned my tyres in the process so the last two laps were a real struggle and I was lucky to finish. It also turned out the bike was running at 120 degrees during the race as opposed to the usual 85. Not only the bike but also I overheated my core temperature and had to take a cold shower immediately after the race. What a weekend! Doing three back-to-back races is very demanding when you are always giving your 100%. We are taking away some positive observations, especially in terms of our race pace in the last two races. We need to work on a one lap performance in qualifying to make the step that we need. I am now looking forward to a home-cooked meal and some quality training before the last round of the season in Valencia. If we can finish the season with a good result, it will give me extra motivation to work hard during the off-season and come back stronger next year. I would like to say huge thanks to my team. The last 5 weeks were challenging for everyone but they were always giving their 100%.”