Motoette -in forward motion

MotoGP Pre Race Review at Sepang

Dani Pedrosa

MotoGP will be taking it on the road again this weekend for round 15, the second of 3 back to back races. The GP teams will be arriving at Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur this week to battle it out at Sepang.  The wide serpentine-like circuit has been a seasonal favorite to the riders for past 20 years with its variable challenges. The multiple fast corners, technically torpid turns, undulating elevations and speedy straights make this circuit a dynamic challenge for all riders alike.

To add to the mix is the traditional humid weather, which has been known to rise temperatures as high as 40C (104 F) on the track, marking Sepang as one of the most taxing races, testing both fitness and endurance levels to the limit.

The fans might be seeing more uncertainty with the atmospheric weather conditions and the billowing track than with the riders this Sunday. With Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa recuperating from surgery on a fractured collarbone he suffered from last Friday’s free practice round in Japan; Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo now has a clear shot at clinching the championship after this weekend.

It is more than likely that Dani Pedrosa will be sitting it out this weekend, giving Lorenzo an unfaltering 69 point lead and just 7 points to finalize a guaranteed title. Not leaving much to the fans imagination!

To quote Dani:

“I am still very stiff in my neck and across the back of my shoulders, so the target is to get back to racing in Australia. There is a very small possibility of going to Malaysia, but the realistic target is Australia. I had another check-up today and it shows clearly that the plate on my collarbone is very well fixed and the progress has been good after the operation. My condition has improved over the last two days and I’m doing passive rehabilitation with my physiotherapist at the moment. I am still not able to move the arm by myself but with massage it’s getting better. It’s a real pity that this happened when we had such a lot of momentum with our results, but we simply have to deal with it.”

To quote Jorge:

“All I am thinking about is Sunday and if I can win the title…it’s been one of the dreams of my life and it would be great to get it here in Sepang,” I like Malaysia a lot and I’ve done so many kilometers there testing on my M1, plus I have great memories from winning the 250 championship there in 2007. The track is long and modern but the weather can be a problem because it can be too hot and also rain can cause problems. Last year was a bit crazy with the rain and then I had to start from last on the grid! I would definitely prefer it to be dry this year. The team and I will focus in the same way we have all season, working hard from Friday and with the goal of podium or victory.”

Last weeks 1st place winner, Marlboro Ducati’s Casey Stoner will welcome the steamy circuit with fond memories. The audacious Aussie is the only rider in history to have won the 125, 250 and the MotoGP (2009 & 2007) classes at Sepang. With 2 first place back to back podium finishes under his belt, he still has a chance at the 2nd position for the 2010 season overall!

To quote Casey:

“Motegi was our biggest question mark about set up and we had to really work hard to make the bike stable for the really heavy braking.  Sepang isn’t too much about that, so we can maybe raise the bike back up again and get our traction a little better and see what happens. But we can hopefully expect to have the bike working well there. We’ve all been giving 120% all season but it’s just these last two races we’re getting something back from it. It’s a huge, huge difference for us. Going into these next two races is a big clump in a small space for us, of course, but if things keep going like they are we definitely have a good chance of doing well again on Sunday.”  

Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso’s impressive performance to second place at Japan’s Motegi circuit elevated him to fourth in the World Championship, ahead of the effervescent Valentino Rossi. Dovizioso proved command over his Honda RC212V last week by never being out of the top two places in any session setting him up nicely for pole position. Sepang holds a special place in the Italians heart as it was his first ever podium debut in 2008 and was also where he won the 125cc World Championship in 2004. 

To quote Andrea:

“I’m really looking forward to the Malaysian Grand Prix. We arrive in a strong condition after not only an important podium finish in Motegi last Sunday, but also an entire race weekend where we were fast and consistent during every session. We made some good progress with the electronics and the machine set-up through the weekend, and so we arrive in Sepang in even better shape than Motegi. Our performance last weekend was the result of hard work – it was not by chance – and in Malaysia we can do even better. I really like the Sepang race track – it’s one of my favorites and I have had good results in all GP classes, including my first MotoGP podium in 2008. I like Sepang because it is a complete’ circuit with a nice combination of fast and slow sections, and also the circuit is wide so you can use different lines. All in all I’m very confident we can have another strong weekend.”

Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi demonstrated his traditional style last weekend by pushing it to the limit with teammate and rival, Jorge Lorenzo. Something the fans have not seen since his sustained injuries from past and present, earlier this season. Time will tell if Rossi’s reoccurring shoulder injury can handle the tight turns at Sepang. But with his past best record of 5 wins in Malaysia, it will surely help to numb the pain, so the fans can anticipate the “doctor” to be in the house!

To quote Valentino:

“Japan was very exciting for us and it felt good to be fighting at the front through all the sessions and the race,” It’s been a long time since we were that strong. I don’t know until I start riding how Sepang will feel on my shoulder, but it is one of my two or three favorite tracks in the world and I am always excited to go there. We were strong there in winter testing, obviously a lot has changed since then but we made some good improvements to our bike in Japan so I hope we can be in the same kind of form this weekend.”

 

Look for the track action to begin, starting with an hour of free practice on Friday October 8th at 1:55 PM local time!

 

MotoGP Overall Standings

1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 297
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 228
3  Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team 180
4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team 159
5. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 156
6. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 139
7. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team 129
8. Randy de Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 88
9. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 84

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October 7, 2010 - Posted by | Alvaro Bautista, Andrea Dovizioso, Ben Spies, Casey Stoner, Colin Edwards, Dani Pedrosa, Ducati, Jorge Lorenzo, Loris Capirossi, MotoGP, motorcycle racing, motorcycles, Sepang, Valentino Rossi, Yamaha

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