MotoGP Sunday guide for Sepang
Shell Advance Malaysian Grand Prix – Sunday 25 October
• Valentino Rossi starts from pole for the seventh time in 2009. This is the twelfth time this year that a Yamaha rider has been on pole.
• If Valentino Rossi finishes fourth or better he will clinch his ninth world title irrespective of the results of other riders.
• Rossi’s pole position time is the fastest ever lap of the Sepang circuit by a motorcycle, breaking the record that Rossi himself held riding the 990cc machine in 2006.
• Jorge Lorenzo starts from the front row for the fifteenth time in 2009, and makes it a Yamaha one-two in qualifying for the sixth time this year.
• Dani Pedrosa has finished third at the last three races and a repeat of that result in Malaysia will make him the first rider ever to have four successive third place finishes in the premier-class.
• Every single victory in the premier-class at Sepang has been by a rider who has qualified on the front row of the grid.
• Casey Stoner heads up the second row of the grid – only the third time this year that he will be starting a race and not be on the front row.
• Loris Capirossi’s fifth place on the grid is his best qualifying result since he was third on the grid at Mugello. If Capirossi finishes in the top three, it will be his 100th podium finish in Grand Prix racing.
• Toni Elías’ sixth place finish in 2007 is his best result at Sepang since moving up to the MotoGP class.
• Nicky Hayden has finished fourth five times from his six visits to the Sepang circuit.
• Colin Edwards is in ninth place on the grid, which is his worst qualifying result of the year.
• Andrea Dovizioso finished third last year at Sepang – his only podium finish in his debut year riding a MotoGP machine.
• Aleix Espargaró has qualified thirteenth in only his third ride in the MotoGP class.
• Hiroshi Aoyama, who celebrates his 28th birthday on race day in Malaysia, starts from pole for the fourth time at Sepang. His pole position time is the fastest ever lap of the Sepang circuit by a 250cc machine.
• Second on the grid is Jules Cluzel – his first ever front row start in Grand Prix racing. His previous best was fifth on the grid at Indianapolis and Jerez.
• Third fastest qualifier, Mike di Meglio, starts from the front row for the third time in his debut season in the 250cc class.
• This is the first time that two French riders have qualified together on the front row for a 250cc GP since the Valencia GP in 2003, when Randy de Puniet was on pole and Sylvain Guintoli was third on the grid.
• Héctor Barberá, who has finished on the podium at the last three races, is starting from the front row for the twelfth time in 2009.
• Heading up the second row of the grid is Álvaro Bautista, who won the 250cc race at Sepang last year and the 125cc race in 2006.
• Ratthapark Wilairot is starting from sixth on the grid – his best qualifying result of the year.
• Marco Simoncelli is eighth fastest qualifier; this will be the first time he has started a race and not been on the front row since the Chinese Grand Prix last year.
• Marc Márquez starts from pole for the second time in his career. His other pole was at Le Mans earlier in the year – a race he did not finish after crashing. He will be aiming to finish on the podium for the second time in 2009.
• KTM scored their first Grand Prix win in the 125cc race at Sepang with Casey Stoner in 2004.
• Julián Simón starts from the front row for the eleventh successive race. Simon has won four of the last seven races.
• Third on the grid, Bradley Smith, has finished on the podium at the last four races – the first British rider to do so in the 125cc class since Chas Mortimer in 1973.
• Finishing off the front row is Sandro Cortese, who has had back-to-back podiums at the last two races. He finished fourth at Sepang last year, equalling his best result of 2008.
• Esteve Rabat is sixth on the grid, which is his best qualifying result since he was fourth fastest qualifier at Motegi back in April.
• Eighth on the grid equals Danny Webb’s best qualifying result of the year which he achieved at Jerez.