DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM TARGET ANOTHER PODIUM ASSAULT IN MALAYSIA After back-to-back wins in the last two races the Ducati Marlboro Team is hopeful of being amongst the frontrunners again in this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix. The Sepang Circuit...
DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM TARGET ANOTHER PODIUM ASSAULT IN MALAYSIA
After back-to-back wins in the last two races the Ducati Marlboro Team is hopeful of being amongst the frontrunners again in this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix. The Sepang Circuit hosts the majority of MotoGP winter testing and both Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden were on the pace in preseason, clocking the second and third fastest times respectively on the final day.
Test conditions are always different to a race weekend but both riders have good records here, with Stoner victorious in 2007 and 2009, with Hayden boasting six top five finishes.
However, nobody at Ducati Marlboro Team is taking anything for granted this weekend and the riders and staff are ready to give maximum effort in demanding conditions, with high ambient and track temperatures and the challenge of setting up the Ducati GP10 at a completely different kind of circuit to Motegi.
CASEY STONER, Ducati Marlboro Team
"Motegi was our biggest question mark about set up and we had to really work hard to make the bike stable for the really heavy braking. Sepang isn't too much about that, so we can maybe raise the bike back up again and get our traction a little better and see what happens. But we can hopefully expect to have the bike working well there. We've all been giving 120% all season but it's just these last two races we're getting something back from it. It's a huge, huge difference for us. Going into these next two races is a big clump in a small space for us, of course, but if things keep going like they are we definitely have a good chance of doing well again on Sunday"
NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Marlboro Team
"After we got a good result in Aragon it was frustrating not being able to back it up in Motegi, it's not good. I think it shows the level of MotoGP - if you are off a little bit you are at the back. Anyway, now we go to Malaysia and a track where we tested a lot this winter, even though it is always very different when we come back for the race. At the tests we can ride all day long whereas at the Grand Prix we have just a few hours but it's a track I like and I enjoy and we'll just see how the bike works. The team is working extremely hard, Casey has won the last two races so the bike is working really good now and we will go there and try to get a good result".
VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager
"After two wins at tracks with very different characteristics we go to another kind of circuit with fast corners and long straights, so we will need to work just as hard as we did at Motegi. We have to stay concentrated and we can't take anything for granted. At the same time, Casey is in top form and if we can manage to give him another competitive bike he will be up at the front again on Sunday. Nicky also has the chance to do well in this race because he was very fast here in preseason testing and he will be keen to bounce back from a negative result at Motegi."
Sepang hosted a Grand Prix for the first time in April 1999, with races in Malaysia having initially taken place at Shah Alam and Johor. A much loved venue for the teams and riders, the circuit is located in the thick of dense tropical forest, a short drive away from the Kuala Lumpur International airport, and has a modern infrastructure with good safety features. The track is one of the longest on the World Championship and one of the widest, featuring a good mix of corners that put the machines and riders to the test. Intense heat and humidity, with the constant threat of torrential rain, increase the challenge for the riders, teams and anybody else in pit-lane! In fact, one such downpour in 2006 saw qualifying cancelled for all three classes and grid positions were decided by the free practice classification.