Almost without time to celebrate the 2011 World Champion title, Casey Stoner, will face this weekend the second-to-last round of the calendar, the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Repsol rider will try to add a new victory and break records in the most demanding circuit of the season due to the extreme heat and humidity. Stoner will try to set his twelfth pole position, while Pedrosa and Dovizioso will fight for the third place in the overall standings. In Moto2, Marc MÃ¡rquez is only three points away from the lead, when there are still 50 up for grabs.
The Ducati Team left Australia Monday, and after a 24 hour break, its members are ready to get back to work on the GP11.1 for the Malaysian GP. Sepang is one of the widest tracks on the calendar, reaching a width of 16 metres in parts, and the asphalt temperature is often very high due to the tropical climate.
The layout is varied, with a little of everything: two spots where riders reach sixth gear, but others that are technical and taken in first. Some corners are negotiated at high speed, and in others the bike is nearly stopped.
Since its MotoGP debut, the Ducati Team has achieved three wins and one additional podium at Sepang. Valentino Rossi, who counts the track among his favourites, has six wins and three additional podiums, while Nicky Hayden has never finished in the top three but has always been very fast, with five fourth-place finishes in his career, along with one fifth and a sixth.
The new MotoGP World Champion, Casey Stoner, arrives in Malaysia with his homework done, but with new challenges ahead. In Sepang, the Australian rider will have the opportunity to equal two records, his own of the most victories in one year –10 in 2007– and the record of most poles achieved in one season –12 for Mick Doohan in 1997 in 500cc and for Marc MÃ¡rquez in 2010 in 125cc–. This will be Stoner’s 100 Grand Prix in MotoGP, and he visits a track were he has won in all categories.
His team mate, Dani Pedrosa, only needs to achieved one victory in MotoGP in Sepang to equal his Australian team mate. The Spanish rider, who did not take part in the Malaysian race in 2010 due to an injury, will try to recover from the weekend he had in Phillip Island, where he was fourth and lost 3 points to Andrea Dovizioso –third in the Championship–. The Italian rider of the Repsol Honda Team was in Phillip Island again on the podium. With this third place, Andrea is just one point away from match his best MotoGP season. The Sepang circuit, the second longest of the World Championship with 5.548 metres, is a pending subject for the Italian rider, who saw the win escape from his hands last year.
Nothing is impossible for Marc MÃ¡rquez and his Moto2. After recovering 35 positions in Australia to finish on the podium, the Repsol rider arrives to a circuit he already conquered last year in the small category. This has been a dream season for the young rider from Cervera who, two races from the end of the Championship, depends only on himself to get the title of World Champion in his first year in Moto2. He is second in the overall standings three points behind the leader, German Stefan Bradl, and has finish on the podium nine consecutive times. The Sepang track will be the next chance for Marc MÃ¡rquez to keep being the protagonist of a year that will enter the motorcycling history.