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20 years of Grand Prix racing in Malaysia

20 years of Grand Prix racing in Malaysia

Malaysia has been a permanent fixture on the MotoGP World Championship calendar since 1991. Take a look back at some of the most memorable and defining races with

The Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix this weekend will mark the 20th anniversary of the presence of the premier class of motorcycling in the country, which first hosted the World Championship in 1991. In that time three different venues have seen action with Shah Alam, Johor and, since 1999 to the present day Sepang.

From 1991 to 1997 at Shah Alam Mick Doohan (500cc) and Max Biaggi (250cc) were the dominant riders in the Malaysian round, each claiming four wins, whilst the solo visit to Johor in 1998 saw Doohan continue his form in the premier class with Tetsuya Harada (250cc) and Kazuto Sakata (125cc) taking the honours in the other two categories.

Since Sepang took over in 1999 Valentino Rossi has been the most successful rider in the premier class with five victories to his name there, and in hosting one of the final rounds of the season it has been the site at which titles have been decided. Indeed that was the case last year with Rossi, whilst this season (and of course dependant on a range of circumstances) Jorge Lorenzo and Toni Elías could claim the MotoGP and Moto2 titles respectively at Sepang.

Here, takes a look back through the best races in the 20-year history of MotoGP’s visits to Malaysia…

1992 – Shah Alam: Mick Doohan (Honda) won the 500cc race, which was stopped and restarted when it started to rain, from great rival Wayne Rainey. Alex Criville finished third as he achieved the first 500cc podium by a Spanish rider. Luca Cadalora repeated his victory of the previous year in the 250cc class, while the 125cc race was won by Alessandro Gramigni on his way to becoming the first rider to win a world title riding an Aprilia.

1995 – Shah Alam: Mick Doohan took his third victory in Malaysia in the 500cc contest, this time from fellow Australian Daryl Beattie. Garry McCoy had his first ever Grand Prix victory in the 125cc category for which he was awarded half points due to the race being stopped after 12 laps when it started to rain, and in the 250cc race Max Biaggi was victorious.

1998 – Johor: The one and only visit by the Grand Prix riders to the Johor circuit resulted in another victory for Mick Doohan in the 500cc race on his way to the last of his five world titles. Tetsuya Harada (250cc) and Kazuto Sakata (125cc) took the honours in the other two categories.

1999 – Sepang: On the first visit to the Sepang circuit Kenny Roberts Jnr won on his debut riding the factory Suzuki in the 500cc race. Loris Capirossi started the defence of his 250cc title with a narrow victory from Tohru Ukawa. Masao Azuma won the 125cc race riding a Honda shod with Bridgestone tyres.

2004 – Sepang: Valentino Rossi repeated the victory of the previous year but this time on a Yamaha in the MotoGP class. Having moved up to the 250cc class, Dani Pedrosa won for the second successive year at Sepang. Andrea Dovizioso clinched the world title by finishing second in the 125cc race behind Casey Stoner, who scored the first ever Grand Prix victory for KTM.

2009 – Sepang: Casey Stoner won the MotoGP race last year in Malaysia, which was delayed by over 30 minutes due to heavy rain falling as riders assembled on the grid. The race was run in wet conditions, with the riders lapping around 12 seconds off the lap record. Valentino Rossi finished third to clinch his ninth world title and seventh in the premier class. The two other classes were won by riders who would take their respective world titles in 2009 – Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) in 250cc and Julián Simón (Aprilia) in 125cc.

You can re-live the best races of the World Championship from as far back as 1992 with highlights from each race of every season in the Seasons video section on Equally entertaining is a visit to the MotoGP Classics page which houses an exclusive collection of some of the most exciting battles in the premier class since 1992.


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