The Ducati Marlboro Team travels to Malaysia on the back of two unforgettable races, aiming to maintain the momentum all the way to the end of this historic season. In Japan last month Casey Stoner wrapped up the factory's first MotoGP riders'...
The Ducati Marlboro Team travels to Malaysia on the back of two unforgettable races, aiming to maintain the momentum all the way to the end of this historic season.
In Japan last month Casey Stoner wrapped up the factory's first MotoGP riders' crown while Loris Capirossi won the race. In Australia last weekend Stoner won the race, his ninth victory of the season, while Capirossi finished second to help secure the constructors' title for Ducati and the team's title for the Borgo-Panigale-based squad.
LIVIO SUPPO, Ducati MotoGP project director
"We go to Malaysia in very good mood after two unforgettable races and we hope we can maintain our momentum at Sepang, where we've had some great results. Two years ago we scored our first double podium result there and last year Loris fought for victory until the last lap, so in theory it's a good track for us. We hope to score another podium because so far this season we have had a Ducati rider on every podium apart from Jerez. We are also aiming to keep Casey's points average - at the moment he is averaging 20.125 points per race which is an incredible performance."
CASEY STONER, World Champion, on 322 points
"I'm still trying just as hard to win races now that we've got the title, because every race is as important as the others to me, but being champion does make it different, it makes the racing more enjoyable because I can relax a bit more. I'm looking forward to Sepang - it's always been a pretty good circuit for me. I won there two years in a row on the 125 and 250 in 2004 and 2005. I think last year was my worst race there, so I'm looking forward to getting back to having a nice, strong event there. The circuit has got a bit of everything, there's some really good, nice flowing corners and there's some tight, dicky ones. There's a lot of long corners, so you spend a lot of time on the brakes and on the side of the tyres, so you need to be very confident in the front to push it into the corners. At the same time you also need that drive on the rear. But now with the recent resurfacing work we don't know what the track's going to hold."
LORIS CAPIROSSI, 7th overall on 150 points
"These last two races are really important to me and I love to ride Sepang, so I will be working hard to get another good result there. The track really suits me, the Ducati has always gone well there and the Bridgestones work well too, but we will have to wait and see what happens this time because it seems like they have had some problems resurfacing the track. They laid a new surface a couple of months ago but it was too bumpy, so they had to put down another new surface in some areas recently, so everything will be completely new from a tyre point of view. I just hope the surface is okay because the last two years I have had great weekends there - first in 2005, a very close second place last year. The Sepang layout is great - very wide and with some fast corners, so it's a lovely circuit to ride and it's great for fighting, so you get some exciting races there. Of course, the weather is very hot and humid but that is okay for me, this is what we train for."
Sepang is MotoGP's longest racetrack and is also one of the widest tracks in the world, putting riders and machines to the test with an excellent variety of corners and high-speed straights. Withering heat and humidity are further challenges, not only for riders and machines, but also for technicians and everyone else working in pit lane.
Sepang hosted its first Grand Prix in April 1999 and was an instant hit with riders and teams. The state-of-the-art complex, carved out of the jungle adjacent to Kuala Lumpur's international airport, took circuit and infrastructure design to a new level, combining a fast, safe track layout with ultra-impressive pit, media and corporate facilities. The venue replaced Malaysia's original GP tracks at Shah Alam and Johor.
Lap record: Loris Capirossi (Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici GP6), 2m 02.127s, 163.541km/h-101.620mph (2006)
Pole position 2006: Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), 2m 00.605s