Rossi and Lorenzo both like the Sepang Circuit a lot, but the heat not so much.
The heat is definitely on as Yamaha Factory Racing head overseas for the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, the first of the triple back-to-back races that mark the final push to the end of the season. Just four races remain for defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo to try to retain his crown from current championship leader Marc Marquez.
Nine time world champion Valentino Rossi is a big fan of the Malaysian track and carries the honour of the rider with most wins at the circuit. The Italian claims a 125cc victory in 1997, a 500cc win in 2001 and premier class victories in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010.
The Sepang International Circuit held its first Grand Prix in 1999 and continues to be a class-leading venue. The track provides fast, exciting racing with four slow corners, two long straights and ten medium to high-speed corners providing big challenges in bike set up. With a 5.5km lap length it is one of the longest laps on the Grand Prix circuit and as races are run in extremely hot and humid conditions it provides one of the ultimate tests of endurance for the riders who must be in peak physical condition to cope.
“Now we start the big trip with three races in a row and face the last part of the championship, the crucial part. After Aragon where we fought so hard we now visit a special circuit. Sepang is a track everybody knows really well. I guess all the riders will be strong there because we made a couple of pre-season tests. Sepang is a long and technical circuit with two great straights but also some nice corners. The worst thing is it’s always stormy and you never know when it is going to rain. I have some good memories there but we need to keep focus now on the race and try to recover a little bit to Marquez. The championship is difficult but we want to fight until the end. Let’s see what happens!”
“The Sepang circuit is a track that I like a lot, I have had many great victories there. I think it suits the Yamaha quite well. It's very demanding physically because it’s very hot but it's also a great track and challenge because of this. I want to try to make a good weekend and work hard on the set up to arrive competitively for the race on Sunday.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“We go now to Malaysia to start the last four races of the season and we are much stronger than at the beginning of the year. I am quite positive for Sepang because Jorge likes the track and also Phillip Island and Motegi that follow afterwards are I think quite good for us. He is feeling good and strong. Aragon P2 was of course not so bad but we wanted to win. For sure for the next rounds we would like to get some victories to finish the 2013 season in the best way. We will see what happens!”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
"The three races in a row will be certainly very interesting. We have good memories for each race and we are ready to do our best to close the season in a positive way. In Sepang we did two tests earlier in the season, as the other teams, but in the meantime the bikes have changed a lot. Having good weather and good conditions will be important. It is also important not to make mistakes because the races are three in a row, and the points that we can collect are many. We expect to improve even more, to do better, with both riders. We are ready for these three important weeks."
Yamaha Factory Racing