Sepang Circuit Preview
October 20, 2011
Last year, Jorge Lorenzo
stepped off of the track after an emotional win that secured him
the 2010 MotoGP World Championship. With Mario and Luigi by his side and a "game
over" sign in hand, the Italian reveled in the best moment of his career thus far. This year,
however, Lorenzo won't even be stepping onto the Sepang track in Malaysia. After a
serious hand injury followed by reconstructive plastic surgery, Lorenzo will be forced to
watch from the side lines as rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga takes his place.
But even worse than having to remain absent from the Sepang race for Lorenzo is that his
crash kept him from racing last weekend in Australia, which handed over the MotoGP
World Championship title to
Casey Stoner. Though Stoner has had a nearly flawless
season winning 9 races this season and standing on the podium in all but one, Lorenzo
was the only rider who had a chance to still keep the title. After his crash during a warm
up lap at Phillip Island, the pressure was off of Stoner who won the race and the title.
Now, the MotoGP riders are heading to Sepang, Malaysia once again. And while the title
is off the table, the rest of the podium is up for grabs. Injured Lorenzo currently holds
second with a seemingly strong point gap between himself and
Andrea Dovizioso. But if
Lorenzo cannot race in the final two races, Dovizioso would just need 48 points
combined in the next two rounds to overtake him for second place. But, while Lorenzo
will definitely not be riding this weekend, there is no word on if he will take part in the
final race of the season in Valencia.
Even though he now holds the 2011 title, Stoner shows no signs of slowing down. Now
heading into the final rounds without the pressure of keeping points away from Lorenzo,
the Australian is looking forward to relaxing and enjoying the last of the races. If this
allows him to perform just as well, if not better, Stoner could keep Dovizioso from taking
enough points to overtake Lorenzo for second.
Just behind Dovizioso with a mere four point gap is team-mate
Dani Pedrosa. Though it
is impossible for Pedrosa to take second in the series this season even if he wins both
races, the four point gap between him and Dovizioso leaves third place open for the
taking. But Dovizioso is determined and said in a press conference that, "To finish third
in the Championship for me is the best result and really important before leaving (the
team)." Next year, Dovizioso well be joining the Tech 3 set-up.
American rider Ben Spies
is currently in fifth place in the point standings and looks as
though he will stay there. As long as Spies can stay consistent in these last two races, he
has a great chance of retaining fifth place till the end. But just behind him and climbing
up the ranks with one of the best seasons he has ever had is Marco Simoncelli. After his
first podium finish in the premier series at the Brno Circuit and a fairly consistent season,
Simoncelli has overtaken
Valentino Rossi for sixth place and still has a chance to overtake Ben Spies for fifth.
With the worst season of his career, legendary Rossi has dropped to seventh place in the
point standings after crashing out of the race in Australia. Whether it be the "curse of
Ducati" or Rossi is finally losing his touch, the seven time MotoGP World Champion is
now fighting to stay in seventh with
Nicky Hayden just behind him by seven points. But
still, Rossi believes that, "The battle for fifth is not over."
Wrapping up the top ten in the point standings as of right now are Colin Edwards and
Hiroshi Aoyama who will be heading to the last two rounds hoping to stay there.
The Sepang Circuit is a 3.447 mile long track consisting of five left corners and ten right
corners. Having been constructed in 1998, it's fairly new and built for speed and exciting
racing (though we're not sure who would build a track for boring racing). The track was
built in a short 14 months and had its first Grand Prix in April of 1999. But most grueling
is the weather. The Sepang Circuit in Malaysia is one of the hottest and most humid. And
with a lot on the line for all of the riders except for Stoner, we're sure there won't be any
shortage of overtaking and serious maneuvering on the wide track.
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