Shell Advance Grand Prix of Malaysia 2014
Posted on Oct 20, 2014 by Nick Harris
ROUND SEVENTEEN 2014 MotoGP™ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - SUNDAY 26 OCTOBER
Bradley Smith arrives for the penultimate round of the MotoGP™ World Championship, the Shell Advance Grand Prix of Malaysia in Sepang, full of confidence after his very first MotoGP podium finish at the previous round in Australia. The 23 year old Oxfordshire Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider is eighth in the world championship going into the stifling heat around the 3.444 mile Sepang circuit but only nine points behind sixth place Aleix Espargaro.
Isle of Man based Midlander Cal Crutchlow looked set for second place at Phillip Island in Australia but crashed out on the last lap. He has just two more grands prix on the Ducati before joining LCR Honda next season. Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding had a great ride in Australia taking full advantages of the crashes to grab a well-deserved seventh while Ulsterman Michael Laverty would be delighted with a repeat of his 13th place.
Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes makes his Sepang debut fresh from a highly encouraging fifth in the Moto2™ race in Australia. Two years ago Londoner Gino Rea finished a superb second at Sepang in the pouring rain. The AGT REA Racing rider will be looking for a repeat of the weather on Sunday.
Twenty year old Scotsman John McPhee is getting nearer to his first Moto3 podium finish. Riding the Racing Steps Foundation RTG Honda he has finished fourth and fifth in the last two races. Danny Kent has been right up with the leaders in both races but has been brought down when chasing podium or even victories.
Rossi chasing two in a row in fight for second place
Valentino Rossi arrives at the Shell Advance Grand Prix of Malaysia at Sepang chasing his second successive MotoGP victory to hold onto his second place in the world championship at the penultimate round. The Italian Movistar Yamaha rider opened up an eight point lead in the battle for second place with his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo while Dani Pedrosa dropped to fourth after his non finish at the previous round in Australia. World Champion Marc Marquez was another non finisher in Australia after he crashed while leading; he’s not won a grand prix for the last four races but retained his title with a second place two weeks ago in Japan.
Rossi has a great record at the 3.444 miles circuit situated next to Kuala Lumpur International airport. He has won six times but it’s Pedrosa and Repsol Honda who have won for the last two years. Rain can play a big part in the outcome of the race with heavy showers a feature of the area. Marquez, in similar style to Phillip Island, has only secured one 125cc victory at the track where all the pre-season testing takes place. Jorge Lorenzo has a 250cc victory and clinched his first MotoGP World Championship with a podium finish in 2010.
Andrea Dovizioso looks a safe fifth but there is a tremendous battle for sixth with just 15 points separating Aleix and Pol Espargaro, Bradley Smith and Andrea Iannone. Smith was the only finisher in Phillip Island with his third place.
The first Malaysian Grand Prix was held in 1991 at the 2.753 miles Shah Alam circuit. American John Kocinski won the 35 lap 76.230 miles 500cc race from Australian Wayne Gardner. He averaged 91.346 mph in 50m05.945s and led Gardner by 6.145s at the finish.
The Malaysian Grand Prix remained at Shah Alam until 1997 before switching to Johor in 1998. The 2.398 miles Johor circuit staged just one grand prix before switching to its present home in Sepang. World Champion Mick Doohan won the 30 lap 500cc race from Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi. The brand new 3.447 miles Sepang circuit staged its first ever grand prix on April 18th 1999. Kenny Roberts Junior won the 500cc race, Loris Capirossi the 250 and Masao Azuma the 125cc race. The Sepang circuit has hosted the Malaysian Grand Prix every year since 1999.
Just 0.002 s separated Tom Luthi and Mika Kallio at the end of the 2005 125cc race at Sepang. The 19 lap 65.493 miles race was won by Luthi in 43m02.214s at an average speed of 91.317 mph. It was the sixth closest finish in the 125cc class.
Rain has often shortened grand prix races at Sepang. The 2012 MotoGP race was reduced to 13 laps 44.811 miles because of heavy rain with Dani Pedrosa declared the winner. The same fate befell the Moto2 race which was won by Alex De Angelis from Gino Rea and Malaysian rider Hafizh Syahrin after being reduced to 15 laps. The 2006 125cc race was reduced to 12 laps with Alvaro Bautista the winner. The 2011 MotoGP race was cancelled following the fatal crash of Italian Marco Simoncelli.
Nine times World Champion Valentino Rossi is the only rider competing at Sepang this year who has also won at Shah Alam.The Italian won the 1997 125cc race in the last year of the grand prix at the circuit. Rossi carried on winning at Sepang and has won six MotoGP races with the last victory in 2009. Dani Pedrosa has won the MotoGP races for the last two years plus a 125cc victory. Jorge Lorenzo has never won a MotoGP race but has a 250cc victory while Marc Marquez has both 125 and Moto2 victories.
Sepang facts and figures
Circuit Length: 5.548 kms/3.447 miles
Pole Position: Left
Longest Straight: 920m
Left Corners: Five
Right Corners: Ten
Pole Position Record: Marc Marquez/Honda 2.00.011 (2013)
Lap Record: Marc Marquez/Honda 2.01.415 (2013)
BT Sport Schedule (unless stated this will be on BT Sport 2)
Friday 24th October
2.00am – Grand Prix of Malaysia – FP1 - LIVE
6.00 am – Grand Prix of Malaysia – FP2 - LIVE
Saturday 25th October
2.00am – Grand Prix of Malaysia – Free Practice - LIVE
5.15am – Grand Prix of Malaysia – Qualifying - LIVE
Sunday 26th October
4.45am – Grand Prix of Malaysia - Moto3/Moto2/MotoGP Races - LIVE
Tuesday 28th October
8.00pm - MotoGP Tonight: (BT Sport 1)
Monday 27th October
8.00pm – MotoGP Highlights Programme