The penultimate round of this year’s MotoGP takes place this Sunday at the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia. And, with the drama that unfolded at the Australian GP last weekend, there’s no doubt that this is going to be an exciting and nail-biting race.
Marc Marquez was in line to take the title at Philip Island before going off on a corner with 10 laps remaining. This gave room for Italian rival Valentino Rossi to secure first place after working his way up from starting eighth on the grid. Finishing behind Rossi was Spaniard, Jorge Lorenzo, and third place was Briton, Bradley Smith, who secured his first-ever podium finish after Cal Crutchlow crashed out on the final lap.
Commenting on the race, Rossi said: “When I saw Marc crash it was a surprise, and to finish first at Philip Island after my last victory here in 2005 is a great achievement.” The race on Philip Island also marked Rossi’s 250th premier-class race, along with his 82nd victory and one of his favourite circuits.
21-year-old Marquez secured the MotoGP championship title after finishing second place in the Japanese MotoGP on 12 October. The current standings see the rider with 312 points, followed by Rossi in second place with 255; and then Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa in third and fourth place with a respective 247 and 230 points. Ok, Ok, so the battle is technically already won, but we still can’t wait to watch the fight for the other two podium spots.
The Sepang International Circuit is arguably one of the best circuits in the world, playing host to some of the most prestigious motorsport events, including the Formula One Grand Prix, the A1 Grand Prix and, of course, the MotoGP.
The circuit is the brainchild of German designer Hermann Tilke, who went on to design facilities in Turkey, Singapore, India, Korea and Shanghai, among many others. The 2,300 acre complex in which the circuit is built is also home to additional sports facilities, a golf course, hotel and shopping centre. The whole complex cost approximately £50 million and took only 14 months to build, with the circuit hosting its first Grand Prix event in April 1999.
Famed for its wide straights and sweeping corners, the Sepang International Circuit is 3.444 miles long with the longest straight being 0.572 miles. The layout is somewhat unusual, with a super-long straight back separated from the pit straight by an extremely tight hairpin.
Alongside the hairpin, the track boasts 10 medium-high speed corners and four slow corners which follow on from two long straights. The wideness of the track offers ample opportunities for overtaking, not to mention space for riders to give their machines tonnes of open throttle.
Marquez’s thirst for victory saw him securing an impressive 10 wins from the 10 opening races of the seasons. Though he has gone on to win just one more race at Silverstone since, he still has got two more chances to match – and eclipse – Mick Doohan’s 1997 record for most premier class GP wins in one season with 12 victories.
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