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Rossi verging on ninth world title at Sepang

Rossi verging on ninth world title at Sepang

MotoGP heads to South East Asia this weekend for the 16th round of the 2009 season, as Valentino Rossi sits within touching distance of securing a seventh premier class title at the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

Sepang is next up on the 2009 MotoGP circuit this weekend, and a top-four ride for Valentino Rossi would be enough for the Italian to be crowned the 2009 World Champion at Sepang.

Second place behind an impressive Casey Stoner at the Iveco Australian Grand Prix extended Rossi’s lead at the top of the title standings to 38 points, thanks in large part to title rival and Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo’s first-lap crash at Phillip Island.

The Spaniard’s inability to complete the race means that even if he wins at Sepang, Rossi only needs to finish fourth to take his ninth world title across all classes. Lorenzo is the only rider who can stop Rossi from taking the title in Malaysia and it is a place where, in his rookie season last year, Lorenzo retired after crashing. A win in 250cc is his best result there.

Rossi has a rich history of good form at Sepang, where he won from second on the grid last year and has seven podium finishes in the premier class in total, including five wins.

Ducati Marlboro man Stoner overtook Dani Pedrosa in the standings with his third victory in as many years on his home track, and the Australian is back to full fitness after his three-race break. Last year saw the 24 year-old place sixth at Sepang, but in his title-winning 2007 season Stoner won in Malaysia, so has pedigree there.

Pedrosa is six points adrift of Stoner in fourth place in the championship, but his impressive record of always finishing on the podium at Sepang – he placed second last year – means he should be amongst the frontrunners as well, having finished third in his last three races this season.

Pedrosa’s Repsol Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso made the podium in Malaysia in his debut MotoGP season last year and will hope to improve on his sixth place in Australia, while hot on his heels in the championship is Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards – the Texan has never finished in the top three at Sepang.

The points spread from seventh to tenth in the championship standings between Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini), Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda), Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) and Marco Melandri (Hayate Racing) is just one, as the battle for seventh place intensifies.


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