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Interesting facts ahead of the race

Interesting facts ahead of the race

Interesting facts ahead of the race

> Valentino Rossi, the winner at Sepang last year, has qualified on pole for the fifth time in 2004 but for the first time since the British GP in July.

> Rossi's pole position time is the fastest ever lap of the Sepang circuit by a motorcycle.

> The top seven riders have lapped faster than Rossi's previous record pole position time from last year.

> Alex Barros, who finished third at Sepang in 2002, has qualified on second place on the grid for the second successive race; his first back-to-back front row starts since 2002.

> Shinya Nakano has qualified on the front row of the grid for the first time on the four-stroke Kawasaki.

> The last time a Kawasaki was on the front row of the grid for a premier-class Grand Prix was with Kork Ballington at the Imatra circuit in Finland in 1981.

> Nakano, who celebrates his 27th birthday on race day in Malaysia, took victory in the 250cc race at Sepang in 2000 riding a Yamaha.

> Sete Gibernau's second place finish last year at Sepang was his first ever podium finish at the Malaysian circuit.

> In the last seven races Makoto Tamada has been the second top scorer in the MotoGP championship with 101 points, just two less than Valentino Rossi.

> Max Biaggi has twice finished on the podium at Sepang; winning the race in 2002 and finishing third last year.

> John Hopkins missed the race at Sepang last year, as he was serving a one race ban after causing the first corner crash at Motegi.

> Carlos Checa was the top Yamaha rider in Malaysia last year, finishing in fifth place.


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