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After 2014 MotoGP™ World Champion Marc Marquez’s crash in Australia gave Valentino Rossi the opportunity to notch his second victory of the year, the Repsol Honda rider will be striving for nothing less than a win at Sepang.
It is Marquez’s hunger for victory which drove him to this year’s title in fine style with 10 wins from the opening 10 rounds, though since then he has added just the one further triumph at Silverstone and has now gone four races without a win. Marquez still has the chance to match - and eclipse - Mick Doohan’s record from 1997 for most premier class GP wins in a single season of 12 victories.
Last year at Sepang Marquez was second in the race behind his Honda colleague Dani Pedrosa and he will aim to go one better this time.
Another rider who knows all about winning is Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s remarkable nine time World Champion Rossi who delighted his fans at Phillip Island with his 82nd premier class victory in his 250th race in the top category of Grand Prix competition.
It was also Rossi’s 108th win across all classes and the 25 points from Australia helped him to move clear in second place in the World Championship. Rossi leads Lorenzo by eight points with two rounds remaining.
Lorenzo described his result in Australia as the luckiest second place of his career as his pace dropped in the second half of the race, but his rostrum appearance was the eighth consecutive podium of an excellent recent run.
Last year’s Sepang race winner Pedrosa was unlucky on Sunday at Phillip Island as his efforts came to en early end after he was hit by Andrea Iannone and was forced to retire. That DNF result saw Pedrosa slip to fourth in the standings, 25-points adrift of second placed Rossi.
Fifth overall ahead of the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix is the ever-consistent Andrea Dovizioso who stayed upright in Australia to take fourth, with nine riders in total unable to finish the race – including his Ducati Team colleague Cal Crutchlow who went down on the last lap with second place looking almost guaranteed.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith got his first MotoGP™ podium at round 16 and has forced his way back into the battle for sixth in the standings. That third place Phillip Island result took Smith up to eighth overall above Pramac Racing’s Iannone and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl – both of whom aim to bounce back in Malaysia after their respective mistakes on Sunday.
Smith is now also only nine points behind sixth placed Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) and eight adrift of his Tech 3 teammate, Aleix’s brother, Pol Espargaro – with the Spanish siblings also suffering Australian DNFs.
The first premier class practice session at Sepang will start at 9.55am local time (GMT +8) on Friday morning.
3 years ago