The heat is definitely on as Yamaha Factory Racing head overseas for the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, the first of the triple back-to-back races that mark the final push to the end of the season. Just four races remain for defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo to try to retain his crown from current championship leader Marc Marquez.
The Sepang circuit is up first this Sunday. Lorenzo has yet to score a premier class MotoGP victory at the track, coming second in 2012 and third in 2010. The Mallorcan does have one 250cc win under his belt from 2006.
Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi is a big fan of the Malaysian track and carries the honor of the rider with most wins at the circuit. The Italian claims a 125cc victory in 1997, a 500cc win in 2001 and premier class victories in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010.
The Sepang International Circuit held its first Grand Prix in 1999 and continues to be a class-leading venue. The track provides fast, exciting racing with four slow corners, two long straights and 10 medium to high-speed corners providing big challenges in bike set up. With a 5.5km lap length, it is one of the longest laps on the Grand Prix circuit, and as races are run in extremely hot and humid conditions, it provides one of the ultimate tests of endurance for the riders who must be in peak physical condition to cope.
Jorge Lorenzo spoke about the upcoming race:
“Now we start the big trip with three races in a row and face the last part of the championship, the crucial part. After Aragon where we fought so hard we now visit a special circuit. Sepang is a track everybody knows really well. I guess all the riders will be strong there because we made a couple of preseason tests. Sepang is a long and technical circuit with two great straights but also some nice corners. The worst thing is it’s always stormy and you never know when it is going to rain. I have some good memories there but we need to keep focus now on the race and try to recover a little bit to Marquez. The championship is difficult but we want to fight until the end. Let’s see what happens!”
Valentino Rossi stated:
Jorge Lorenzo, MotoGP, Valentino Rossi, Yamaha
“The Sepang circuit is a track that I like a lot, I have had many great victories there. I think it suits the Yamaha quite well. It’s very demanding physically because it’s very hot but it’s also a great track and challenge because of this. I want to try to make a good weekend and work hard on the set up to arrive competitively for the race on Sunday.”