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Asian adventure continues for MotoGP

Asian adventure continues for MotoGP

Asian adventure continues for MotoGP

After the drama of the twelfth round of the season at Motegi two days ago, the MotoGP World Championship continues its Asian adventure with the second of three consecutive races on the continent this weekend. Valentino Rossi will get his second bite of the cherry as he aims to win the title for the fifth successive season, his first chance having disappeared in a cloud of dust after his only race crash of the season so far in Japan.

Marco Melandri, who went down in the collision with Rossi, and who is highly doubtful to take part in this weekend's event with a deep wound in his foot, saw his slim mathematical chances of winning the title also slip away in the incident. Max Biaggi is now the only man with an outside chance of stopping Rossi, but it is very much an outside chance. Biaggi must score thirteen points more than his compatriot to maintain those hopes this weekend although the odds are stacked against him with Rossi already a two-time winner at the Sepang circuit - including last year.

Biaggi's chances of taking the runner-up spot for the fourth time in his premier-class career were boosted by his second successive podium at Motegi, with Colin Edwards, his closest rival, now lying sixteen points adrift of him in third place. Whilst Biaggi is also a former winner at Sepang, having taken victory for Yamaha in the 2002 race, Edwards could only manage eleventh place for Honda here last season and has not been on the podium since he took second place in his home race at Laguna Seca.

Troy Bayliss will miss his second successive race due to a wrist injury, sustained in a motocross training accident in Australia, and will be replaced by Shane Byrne. The former British Superbike Champion has not ridden since his home round at Donington Park after a split between Proton Team KR and engine suppliers KTM, but he will have a major chance to impress over the next two weekends, having also been pencilled in to replace Bayliss in Qatar.

Alex Hofmann will also miss out at Sepang after breaking a bone in his foot when he collided with Roby Rolfo at Motegi. Rolfo escaped unhurt but Hofmann is definitely out of the next two rounds and has headed back to receive treatment in Europe. Hofmann's place at Kawasaki will be taken by Olivier Jacque, who also stepped in for the German earlier in the season and clinched the team's only podium of the year in China.

Loris Capirossi arrives in Malaysia on top form after taking Ducati's first victory since their debut success at Catalunya over two years ago. The Italian signed a new deal with the factory over the summer and is targeting his third successive podium finish at Sepang as he aims to break into the top five in the World Championship standings.


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