The first-ever Moto2 World Championship crown could be claimed by Toni Elías as the Gresini Racing rider sets his sights on what would be his first title Sunday at Sepang.
Elías has an 81-point advantage over Julián Simón in the standings, and his fellow Spaniard is the only rider who can prevent him from taking the title.
A top-three result in Malaysia for Elías – regardless of Simón’s result – would see him crowned as Champion with three rounds to spare.
Elías has a good record at the track having taken three podiums there in the former 250cc class, including a victory.
Simón has winning form there as well however, and the Mapfre Aspar rider’s is more recent with him taking a win in the 125cc category last season on his way to the title.
Both riders are filled with confidence, Elías after achieving his seventh win of the season at Motegi in the previous round and Simón having taken a fourth consecutive second place.
The latter will be desperate for his first win of 2010 this weekend and such a result would mean Elías would need to finish second to take the title at this round.
In third position in the standings Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up) has his sights on Simón and will be keen to recover from what was a difficult Motegi race in which he placed 13th.
The Italian’s best result at Sepang was eighth in last year’s 125cc race, and he started from pole in the category two years ago. Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Moriwaki) is nine points behind in fourth and still in search of a first win in the class, and won at Sepang on his way to the 125cc title in 2005.
Simone Corsi (JiR Moto2) is fifth in the standings, with Gabor Talmacsi (Fimmco Speed Up) and Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing) separated by a single point in sixth and seventh.
The Hungarian has twice won at Sepang, both victories coming in the 125cc class in 2007 (when he won the title) and 2008.
Other riders looking for strong results will be Karel Abraham (Cardion ab Motoracing) who became only the second Czech rider to finish on the podium in the intermediate category with third place at Motegi, which was his first World Championship rostrum finish.
Scott Redding (Marc VDS) also continued his solid progress with fifth place in Japan, having started from the front row for the fourth consecutive race.
Joining the Moto2 field as a wild card will be home representative Mohamad Zamri Baba, riding for Moriwaki Racing.