2013 Sepang MotoGP | Preview

Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix MotoGP Preview

With four races remaining in the 2013 MotoGP Championship, all eyes are on Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez.

The 20-year-old rookie has did more than impress so far  in his debut year in MotoGP, the Repsol Honda RC213V pilot earning six victories while displaying some of the rawest talent observed since the heyday of nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi.

As the MotoGP series heads this weekend to the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, the first of three back-to-back races, Marquez holds a 39-point lead over his fellow Spaniard, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo.

The reigning MotoGP Champion has been Marquez’s biggest challenger all season, but couldn’t hold his normally fast pace throughout each outing. But with 100 points remaining at the final rounds at Malaysia, Australia, Japan and Valencia, Lorenzo will do all it takes to earn a third MotoGP title.

Marquez took a stunning victory the last time out at Aragon, but there was some controversy due to a collision between him and his teammate Dani Pedrosa, who trails Marquez by 59 points.

There will be Race Direction decision made Thursday ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix. While running in third behind Pedrosa at Aragon, Marquez out-braked himself, making contact with Pedrosa. During the incident, the sensor cable on the back of Pedrosa’s RC213V was sliced, which left Pedrosa without traction control, thus causing the major high side that caused a DNF.

Race Direction had to technically analyze the situation, and though slim, Marquez may be penalized for the situation.

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “I know there is a hearing set for Thursday with Race Direction to discuss the incident with Dani in Aragon, there is not much we can do, we need to wait and see what they say.

“Now we head to Malaysia for the first of the fly away races and I’m ready to get there. Sepang is a circuit I like, it’s the first track we were really able to test the Honda bike at so it will be nice to go back there and regain the feeling, and to see what we have learned over the season. ”

To remain a title contender, Lorenzo must aim for first (25 points) or second (20 points) at Malaysia. Lorenzo finished second last year at Malaysia behind winner Pedrosa, and only has one win at Sepang – 2006, his final year in the former 250cc class.

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “Now we start the big trip, with three races in a row, and face the last part of the championship – the crucial part.

“After Aragón, where we fought so hard, we now visit a special circuit. Sepang is a track everybody knows really well. I guess all the riders will be strong there because we did a couple of pre-season tests. Sepang is a long and technical circuit with two great straights but also some nice corners. The worst thing is it’s always stormy and you never know when it is going to rain.

“I have some good memories there but we need to keep focus now on the race and try to recover a little bit to Marquez. The championship is difficult, but we want to fight until the end. Let’s see what happens!”

Pedrosa beat Lorenzo last year at Malaysia, but knows his chance at a first premier-class MotoGP title are contingent on winning the remaining races. But he still has pressure from the man in fourth, Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi. The Italian broke his streak of fourth-place finishes at Aragon, and will be looking for more podium finishes.

Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Cal Crutchlow will be seeking more top speed out of his satellite YZR-M1 with its new engine at Malaysia, the Brit struggling to keep the pace of the top riders. His teammate, Bradley Smith, won’t have to learn the circuit as he has throughout the season, considering he spent much time testing at Malaysia.

Look for more battles between the satellite Hondas, as GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl will look to get near the podium this weekend.

As for the Ducati Team of Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden, the two are in a race themselves to see who can finish higher. Both factory Ducati GP13s, along with the satellite bikes, continue to work at matching the pace of the Japanese prototypes.

The satellite Pramac Racing team will be hoping for a positive weekend like in Aragon, where Ben Spies’ replacement due to injury, Yonny Hernandez, continued to get to grips with the Ignite Pramac machine. Alongside teammate Andrea Iannone on the Energy T.I. bike, Hernandez hopes that his riding style can reap good results on the Desmosedici.

In the CRT class, it has now been confirmed that Italian Luca Scassa will be in for Karel Abraham in the Cardion AB Motoracing team until the end of the season, while Australian Damian Cudlin will continue to stand in for Hernandez in the PBM team. Both made great progress in Aragon, and will hope to get their bikes as close as possible to CRT front-runner Aleix Espargaro on his Power Electronics Aspar ART, MotoGP reports.

2013 Sepang MotoGP TV Schedule

Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race at 4 a.m. EDT and  re-broadcast the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday, Oct. 13.

2013 MotoGP Point Standings (after 14 of 18 rounds):

Pos. Rider Bike Nation Points
1 Marc MARQUEZ Honda SPA 278
2 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha SPA 239
3 Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 219
4 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 185
5 Cal CRUTCHLOW Yamaha GBR 156
6 Stefan BRADL Honda GER 135
7 Alvaro BAUTISTA Honda SPA 125
8 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 112
9 Nicky HAYDEN Ducati USA 102
10 Bradley SMITH Yamaha GBR 80
12 Michele PIRRO Ducati ITA 50
13 Andrea IANNONE Ducati ITA 47
14 Colin EDWARDS FTR Kawasaki USA 31
15 Hector BARBERA FTR SPA 27
17 Danilo PETRUCCI Ioda-Suter ITA 23
18 Yonny HERNANDEZ Ducati COL 11
19 Ben SPIES Ducati USA 9
20 Claudio CORTI FTR Kawasaki ITA 8
21 Hiroshi AOYAMA FTR JPN 8
22 Alex DE ANGELIS Ducati RSM 5
24 Michael LAVERTY PBM GBR 3
25 Bryan STARING FTR Honda AUS 2
26 Javier DEL AMOR FTR SPA 1