The third and last race of the Asian triptych of the MotoGP is being fought out on the Malaysian circuit of Sepang just kilometres outside the capital of Kuala Lumpur.
Sepang International Circuit is among Andrea Dovizioso’s favourite tracks. Here, the rider from Romagna won his 125cc world title in 2004 and landed his first victory on his Desmosedici GP in 2016. At Phillip Island Andrea secured the title of vice world champion for the third year in a row, so here he’ll be able to focus exclusively on the results of this race.
Danilo Petrucci, on the other hand, arrives in Malaysia after an unlucky Australian race. In qualification runs Danilo showed that he had gotten back to his early form, but an unfortunate accident in the first lap took him out of the running when he could have been one of the leaders. The fight for third place in the overall standings is still open, but he’d have to pick up 18 points in two races.
As for the Sepang circuit, let’s just remember that it might be the only track in the championship where the MotoGP motorbikes do not use electronics to cut power, and in almost all the curves the riders can rely on every bit of the exuberant horsepower a modern MotoGP bike has to unleash. It’s a very technical, varied track where long corners taken leaning down at a reasonably high speed are alternated with sudden and forceful braking followed by some pretty slow curves. Malaysia’s latitude puts it in a tropical zone and the weather can often be bizarre. To complicate matters even further, the resurfacing of the track a couple of years ago increased the amount of time it takes the track to dry, despite the fact that the air temperature often exceeds 30 degrees Celsius.