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Sepang: Moto3™ prepare for a slipstream showdown

The pressure’s off for Mir – now will the gloves come off?

Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) now has his first chance to fight for a win as the reigning World Champion after wrapping up the title last time out. It won’t be easy, with two long straights at Sepang International Circuit to contend with – sure to be another incredible slipstreaming battle. But the pressure is now off, and the gloves can come off too.

That’s true of Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers), too. With the title fight now over, the two riders are fighting for the record books ahead of their graduation to Moto2™. Fenati took his tenth win at Motegi to become the rider with the most in Moto3™, and Mir hit back at Phillip Island to equal it. But Mir has taken nine of those this season, so if he can win the final two, he will equal Valentino Rossi as the rider with the most wins in one year in the lightweight class. One more, and he’s the first rider since Marquez to win ten in a year. But the weather in Malaysia is never sure, and could swing the pendulum one way or the other.

Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) could have something to say about that. On pole once more in the Australian GP – having gone fastest in qualifying for the eighth time this season – the Spaniard is still lacking his first win. He has two chances remaining to break that run, and will be aiming to do it in Malaysia. His teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio is also looking for that first win, and the two are close in the fight behind Mir at the top of the standings. Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) – currently third in the table – will also want more than in Australia to be able to lock that honour down, and John McPhee (British Talent Team) wants to bounce back.

The home crowd will be cheering Adam Norrodin (SIC Racing Team), as the Malaysian arrives at his home GP following a fantastic top ten result at Phillip Island. With the team riding at home – SIC standing for Sepang International Circuit – they’re sure to have a lot of support for his teammate, too. That’s Ayumu Sasaki, former Asia Talent Cup and Red Bull MoroGP Rookies Cup winner, who was likewise on top form at the Island. And there's a wildcard entry: Kasma Kasmayudin (Petronas Sprinta Racing), who makes an appearance away from his key duties in the FIM CEV Repsol.

The pressure is off, but that won’t change the awesome action throughout the Moto3™ field. Practice starts on Friday at 9:00 local time (GMT +8).