In the wake of its recent stopovers in Japan and Australia, the 2106 MotoGPTM World Championship’s next port of call is Sepang, Malaysia for the season’s penultimate clash and the year’s last long haul fixture.
The 17th of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship’s 18 rounds takes teams to Sepang for this weekend’s Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix which was one of the big turning points of the 2015 season.
This time around, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) has already made sure of the Riders’ title, so the situation is very different, with essentially only the fight for the silver and bronze medals still to settle.
This three-cornered battle involves Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, 216 points), Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, 192 points) and Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar, 181 points) who are second, third and fourth in the provisional standings.
Second place in last Sunday’s Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix boosted the Italian’s chances of scooping the season’s runner-up honours. The nine-time world champion only needs to score two more points than his team-mate in Malaysia to conclude the campaign as vice-champion.
Meanwhile, Lorenzo, who was sixth at Phillip Island, is only 11 points clear of Viñales who came third in Australia.
Sepang’s 2015 winner Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) will miss this year’s race due to the broken collar bone he sustained in Japan. As a result, there is a chance he might be pipped to fifth place by Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) who claimed his second victory last weekend. The Briton is now just 14 points short of the Spaniard. He is also 24 points clear of Pol Espargaró (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and could well wrap up the Independent Team Riders’ prize with the year’s late-November finale in Valencia still to come.
Sepang is a track that Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) tends to enjoy and the Italian will be hoping to become the ninth different rider to win a race in 2016.
Pol Espargaró and Bradley Smith will be out to build on their positive performances in Australia - where they ended up fifth and eighth respectively – before switching from Monster Yamaha Tech3 to KTM in 2017.
Michelin will have three different versions of the front MICHELIN Power Slick for Sepang (soft compound, white marking / medium, no marking / hard, yellow) and a choice of two rears (hard compound, yellow marking / medium, no marking). The two rear tyres have an asymmetrical construction, with a harder compound for the right-hand shoulder. For wet conditions, the riders will be able to choose between the soft (blue marking) and medium (no marking) full wets, or the front and rear intermediates for changeable weather.
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