Shell Malaysian Grand Prix 2015
Posted on Oct 19, 2015 by Nick Harris
ROUND SEVENTEEN 2015 MotoGP™ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – SUNDAY 25TH OCTOBER
Kent's long wait must end in Sepang
For the last three agonising weeks Danny Kent has inched closer to re-writing the history books. The 21 year old Wiltshire-based rider has a 40 point advantage going into the penultimate round of the Moto3™ World Championship in the heat and humidity of the Sepang circuit at the Shell Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday. It is a nerve wracking time for the Leopard Honda rider especially after crashing in the previous Australian round, but that 40 points advantage over Australian Grand Prix winner Miguel Oliveira should be enough. If he wins the title he will be the first British Grand Prix Champion since the legendary Barry Sheene 38 years ago. Twenty–one year old Scotsman John McPhee will be looking to overcome the disappointment of crashing out at Phillip Island while fighting for the lead from pole position.
Bradley Smith defends his sixth place in the MotoGP™ World Championship despite a tough time in Australia where he finished tenth. Riding the Monster Tech3 Yamaha Smith is both the leading Satellite and British rider, although Cal Crutchlow on the LCR Honda is having a strong finish to the season. The Isle of Man–based midlander was seventh in Phillip Island and sixth the week before in Japan. Gloucestshire’s Scott Redding could still finish 11th in the championship before switching teams next season, while Irishman Eugene Laverty will continue with the Aspar team next season who switch to Ducati machinery.
Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes finished an excellent second in the Australian Moto2™ race behind Alex Rins. The Speed Up rider has a great chance of finishing fourth in the championship or could even push for third with a good race on Sunday.
Eleven points two to go
No time to draw a breath after that epic encounter at Phillip Island because this amazing MotoGP™ World Championship races onto the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia for the penultimate round on Sunday. The Movistar Yamaha duo of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo arrive into the heat and humidity of Sepang separated by 11 points. The 3.444 mile Sepang circuit on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur with its electric atmosphere and big crowd is the perfect venue for the confrontation.
Rossi, after finishing off the podium for just the second time this season at Phillip Island, has a great record in Sepang. The 36 year old Italian has won six MotoGP races at the track although that last win came in 2010. Lorenzo chases his first MotoGP win at the track, which has brought Honda so much success in recent years.
Marc Marquez arrives after his breath-taking win in Phillip Island and a race victory last year at Sepang. Danny Pedrosa, his team-mate, won the two previous years and both have already played a massive part in the championship especially in the last two races. Also don’t rule out the Ducatis and especially Andrea Iannone after that battling third place in Australia.
Iannone is an impressive fourth in the Championship sandwiched between the two Repsol Hondas of Marquez and Pedrosa, with Bradley Smith still the leading Satellite factory rider in sixth place on the Monster Tech3 Yamaha.
Alex Rins took over second place in the Moto2™ World Championship and should increase the advantage in the 19 lap race, with former World Champion Tito Rabat declared unfit for the race after missing the last two with a broken left arm from a practice crash. New World Champion Johann Zarco chases his 14th podium of the season which would equal the record in the Intermediate-class.
Twenty–one year old British rider Kent must still wait to win the Moto3™ World Championship after crashing out in Australia. A new challenger has emerged in the shape of Portuguese KTM rider Miguel Oliveira. His fourth win of the season in Australia pushed him into second place but still 40 points behind Kent who surely must do it on Sunday.
• This is the 25th motorcycle grand prix event to be held in Malaysia.
• The first Malaysian Grand Prix was held in 1991 and has taken place every year since, with three different venues having been used; Shah Alam, Johor and Sepang.
• The Shah Alam circuit hosted the event for a total of seven years before the Malaysian GP went to Johor for a single year in 1998. The first Malaysian GP to be held at Sepang was in 1999 and this will be the 17th time that Sepang has hosted the event.
• Yamaha have been the most successful manufacturer in the MotoGP class at Sepang with five victories, the last of which was in 2010 with Valentino Rossi.
• Honda have had four MotoGP wins at the Sepang circuit, including the last three years. • Ducati have taken three MotoGP victories in Sepang, the last being in 2009 with Casey Stoner. Since Stoner’s win in 2009 the best result for Ducati is fourth in 2012 with Nicky Hayden.
• The best result for Suzuki at Sepang in the MotoGP era is fifth in 2010 with Alvaro Bautista. • The most successful rider at the Sepang circuit is Valentino Rossi with six GP wins (1 x 500cc, 5 x MotoGP). The next most successful, with four wins each, are: Casey Stoner (1 x 125cc, 1 x 250cc, 2 x MotoGP) and Dani Pedrosa (1 x 125cc, 1 x 250cc, 2 x MotoGP).
• The Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang has been the deciding race in the MotoGP championship on four occasions: in 2003, 2005 and 2009 when Valentino Rossi won the title, and in 2010 in favour of Jorge Lorenzo.
Friday October 23 2.00am – 4.45am (first practise) - 6am – 9am (second practise)
Saturday October 24 2.00am – 9.15am (practice and qualifying)
Sunday October 25 1.30am – 3.15am (warm –up) - 3:45am – 8:30am (races)
ITV 4 Highlights
Monday October 27 8.00 - 9.00 pm