MotoGP PREVIEW: GRAND PRIX OF MALAYSIA
EVENT: Grand Prix of Malaysia
WHERE: Sepang Circuit, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Circuit is 3.447 miles (5.548 km), with 15 turns. Race is 21 laps.
WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 10. It is the 15th of 18 events this season.
2009 RACE WINNER: Casey Stoner, by 14.666 seconds over Dani Pedrosa
2009 POLE WINNER: Valentino Rossi, 2 minutes, 00.518 seconds
U.S. TV: MotoGP race, 6-7 p.m. (ET), Sunday, Oct. 10, SPEED (delayed). Moto2: 5-6 p.m. (ET), Sunday, Oct. 10, SPEED (delayed). 125cc: Noon-1 p.m. (ET), Tuesday, Oct. 12, SPEED (delayed).
THE AMERICANS: U.S. riders Ben Spies (Longview, Texas, Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Nicky Hayden (Owensboro, Ky., Ducati Team) and Colin Edwards (Houston, Monster Yamaha Tech 3) will compete in the MotoGP race. Spies is sixth in the MotoGP World Championship standings, with Hayden seventh and Edwards 10th. Kenny Noyes (Borrego Springs, Calif., Jack&Jones by Antonio Banderas) will compete in the Moto2 race. Noyes is tied for 22nd in the Moto2 World Championship standings.
•Ben Spies (after practice Friday): “For how I felt on the bike, the lap times are not so bad because I honestly expected to see myself in dead last. I just didn't feel confident enough with the bike to push it as hard as I normally can, but looking at the times, I’m actually not too far off. So I’m actually not as worried as I expected because if we can improve the bike like I know we will, I’ll be right up there and in a much stronger position. I’ve just got to keep plugging away, but today we were just chasing front and rear grip. The bike didn’t feel that balanced, either, but we’ve got lots of ideas, and I’m sure we'll be quicker tomorrow and in a strong position to challenge for the top five on Sunday.”
•Nicky Hayden (after practice Friday): “We have picked up where we left off in Japan, which is not a good thing. We struggled a lot right from the beginning, over the bumps, mainly. I have a lot of front chatter, we got rear chatter, too, and I cannot carry any good corner speed. We're 1.2 seconds off the top, which may not seem that much, but the reality is that it is a lot when the field is as tight as it is right now. That kind of gap is pretty much going to send you to the back. We definitely need to do something for tomorrow because today was not good.”
•Colin Edwards (after practice Friday): “I’m happy to be in the top six and really close to fifth, but we have still got a lot of work to do. We changed as much on the bike in one hour that we would do in one day at the test because I was really struggling with front and rear grip. We had to move a lot of weight off the front because I wasn't as confident with the front tire as I have been recently. And I was changing the front and rear suspension a lot to try and improve the traction. I just didn't feel like I could carry any lean angle, so considering some of the limitations I had this afternoon, the position is not too bad. I know I was losing time out there, so with some more overnight changes, I’m sure I can be faster.”
THEY SAID IT: “All I am thinking about is Sunday and if I can win the title. It’s been one of the dreams of my life, and it would be great to get it here in Sepang.” – Fiat Yamaha Team rider Jorge Lorenzo, who will clinch his first MotoGP World Championship with a finish of ninth or better Sunday at the Sepang Circuit
FAST FACTS: 2009 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Jorge Lorenzo must finish ninth or better to clinch his first MotoGP World Championship at this event. His closest pursuer in the points, 2010 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Dani Pedrosa, will miss his second consecutive event with a broken collarbone suffered in a practice crash Oct. 1 at the Grand Prix of Japan … Pedrosa is trying to return at the Australian Grand Prix on Oct. 17 at Phillip Island … American rookie Ben Spies has never raced at Sepang but participated in both 2010 preseason tests at the circuit … American Nicky Hayden never has finished on the podium at Sepang, but he has placed fourth five times … American Colin Edwards has a best finish of eighth in seven starts at Sepang … 2007 MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner is the only rider to win in three Grand Prix classes at Sepang, MotoGP, 250cc and 125cc … Stoner will try this weekend to win three consecutive races in one season for the first time since 2008 … Toni Elias can clinch the Moto2 World Championship at this event depending on his finish and the results of his closest pursuer, Julian Simon … Spanish riders have won 31 races in Grand Prix motorcycle racing in 2010, a record for the nation in one season. Spaniards have won 23 consecutive 125cc races.