Shell Malaysian Grand Prix 2016

Posted on Oct 25, 2016 by Nick Harris


Fresh from his superb win in Australia, Cal Crutchlow arrives in the heat and humidity of the sold out 3.444 miles Sepang circuit for the Shell Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday. The difference and conditions between Sepang and Phillip Island could not be a bigger contrast but the Isle of Man based Midlander is in the form of his life on the LCR Honda. He moved into sixth place in the championship after his second grand prix win of the year. He finished fifth last year in Malaysia and has tested the new Sepang surface this year.

Irishman Eugene Laverty makes his penultimate MotoGP™ appearance before returning to the World Superbike Championship. The 30 year old Pull and Bear Aspar Ducati rider wants to end his excellent season with a couple of good results to consolidate his 12th place in the championship. Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding is just two points behind him and the Octo Pramac Ducati rider is encouraged by his seventh place in Australia. Bradley Smith will be equally encouraged by his eighth at Phillip Island just six weeks after major surgery on his right knee following a crash. The Monster Tech3 rider was fourth last year and has had two 125cc podium finishes.

Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes slipped to fifth place in the Moto2™ Championship after crashing from the Federal Oil Gresini Kalex on the third lap in Australia. He will be looking for finishes in the final two rounds before joining MotoGP next season. Former Moto3™ World Champion Danny Kent was another Phillip Island faller and also seeks those two finishes.

Scotsman John McPhee was involved in a horrendous Moto3 accident in Australia and a decision about the fitness of the Oban –based Mahindra rider will be made later this week.

Did you know?
 This is the 26th motorcycle grand prix event to be held in Malaysia and below are some facts and figures related to the event:
• 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 first Malaysian Grand Prix held at the Shah Alam circuit in 1991 saw a debut win in the premier-class for John Kocinski riding a Yamaha.  Italian riders dominated the smaller classes with Luca Cadalora (Honda) winning the 250cc race and Loris Capirossi (Honda) in the 125cc class.
• 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 18th time that Sepang has hosted the event.
• Honda have had five victories at the Sepang circuit in the MotoGP era, including for the last four years - three wins for Dani Pedrosa and one for Marc Marquez.
• Yamaha have also had five MotoGP wins at Sepang, the last of which was with Valentino Rossi on-board in 2010, which was also the last time that a non-Spanish rider won in the MotoGP class at Sepang.
• 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 at Sepang 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 five wins is Dani Pedrosa (1 x 125cc, 1 x 250cc, 3 x MotoGP).

Cal Crutchlow takes second MotoGP win
Cal Crutchlow’s has again made a big impression on the record books by taking his second win of 2016 at the Australian Grand Prix:
• The Australian win is the first in a dry MotoGP™ race by an Independent Team rider since Toni Elias won the 2006 Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril.
• Crutchlow is the first British rider to take more than a single premier-class grand prix win in a season since Barry Sheene won three 500cc GP races in 1979.
• He is the first Independent Team rider to win more than a single race in a season since Marc Melandri won three times in the 2006 season.
• It is the first time since 2006 that a rider other than Stoner, Marquez, Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Rossi, has taken two or more MotoGP race victories in a single season.
• His win gives Crutchlow a 24 point advantage over Pol Espargaro in the battle for top Independent Rider Championship and if he finishes in front of Espargaro in Sepang it will confirm Crutchlow the top Independent Team rider of 2016.
• Crutchlow has scored 121 points in the last eight races after picking up just 20 points in the first eight races of the year. The only rider to score a greater number of points over the last eight races is Marc Marquez with 128.
• He is the first rider to move to MotoGP from competing full-time in the World Superbike Championship to win more than one MotoGP race.

Marques determined to take the heat in Sepang
World Champion Marc Marquez is determined to forget his Phillip Island mistake when he takes on the heat and humidity at the Shell Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang at the penultimate round of the MotoGP™ World Championship on Sunday.
The Repsol Honda rider was leading in Australia when he fell, just a week after capturing the world title with victory in Japan. The 23 year old Spaniard won at Sepang two years ago and the 125 cc race six years ago. With the title over, the big battle is for second place between the Movistar Yamaha team-mates Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo. Rossi’s second place in Australia has given him a 24 point advantage at the circuit where he has won six premier class races.
Maverick Vinales moved back into fourth place following his third place in Australia on the Ecstar Suzuki. The 21 year old Spaniard is also a race winner at Sepang in both Moto2 and Moto3 classes. Double 250 cc winner Hiroshi Aoyama will replace the injured Dani Pedrosa at Repsol Honda. Pedrosa is hoping to return in Valencia while Austrian Grand Prix winner Andrea Iannone is hoping to return on the factory Ducati in Malaysia after missing the last four races.
Two wins in a row have given Swiss riders and former 125 cc World Champion Tom Luthi a chance of the Moto2™ World title. He won in Malaysia five years ago and now trails current World Champion Johan Zarco by 22 points with two rounds remaining. Frenchman Zarco is wobbling but won the Sepang race last year. Despite crashing in Australia Alex Rins is only three points behind Luthi with Franco Morbidelli moving into fourth after his second at Phillip Island.
South African Moto3™ World Champion Brad Binder has an amazing 130 point lead after his Australian win. The battle for second is much closer with so many top riders crashing in Australia. Japan winner Enea Bastianini is second, 21 points in front of Spaniard Jorge Navarro.

Television Times
BT Sport 2
Friday 28th October 2.00am – 09.00am (practice)
Saturday 29th October 200am – 09.15am (practice & qualifying)
Sunday 30th October 1.30am – 8.15am (warm-up and races)

ITV 4 Highlights
Monday 31st October 20.00pm –21.00pm

Sunday 29th October - TalkSPORT2 – races

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