Sepang, Malaysia

Provisional 2009 MotoGP Calender Announced

As expected, the Chinese round of MotoGP at Shanghai is off the calendar, and as predicted earlier this week, the Hungarian Grand Prix will take place in late summer. But the calendar has a lot of significant shakeups: Motegi moves from late September to the spring, June is a lot less busy, with only 2 lots of back-to-back races in 2009, rather than three pairs which we saw this year. The British Grand Prix moves from June to late July, and Estoril switches back to October.

DateGrand PrixCircuit
April 12th*QatarLosail
April 26thJapanMotegi
May 3rdSpainJerez
May 17thFranceLe Mans
May 31stItalyMugello
June 14thCatalunyaCatalunya
June 27th**NetherlandsAssen
July 5th***United StatesLaguna Seca
July 19thGermanySachsenring
July 26thGreat BritainDonington Park
August 16thCzech RepublicBrno
August 30thIndianapolisIndianapolis
September 6thSan Marino & Riviera di RiminiMisano
September 20thHungaryBalaton
October 4thPortugalEstoril
October 18thAustraliaPhillip Island
October 25thMalaysiaSepang
November 8thValenciaRicardo Tormo - Valencia

* Evening race
** Saturday race
*** Only MotoGP class

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Sepang Jan '08 Test Day 3 Times - Hayden Smashes Circuit Record

The final day of testing at Sepang threw up a few surprises to add to the drama of the first two days. The biggest surprise was the return of Nicky Hayden to the top of the timesheets, after a couple of days ending mid-pack. The Kentucky Kid's was back with a vengeance, shattering Valentino Rossi's circuit lap record by nearly 3/10ths of a second.

Hayden wasn't the only rider to smash records, both Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner went faster than the race lap record on race tires today, proving beyond any doubt that the 800s are already faster than the old 990s were.

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Sepang Day 3 Comparison - Rossi vs Stoner

The resumption of MotoGP testing brings welcome relief to fans starved of news over the long winter break, but it usually causes more questions than answers. For although the fans finally have some times to pore over and speculate about, the published times are usually just for a single lap for each rider, with no indication of whether the times were set on race or qualifying tires, with a full or nearly empty tank, with the bike in race trim or not. Genuinely useful times, which include long sequences of laps are hard to come by, and like all rare commodities, highly prized.

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Sepang Jan '08 Test Day 2 Times - De Puniet Fastest Once Again

After the drama of Day 1, the second day of testing at Sepang got off to a much more normal start. Adding to the sense of normality was Casey Stoner, performing his usual trick of being fast right out of the gate and setting the fastest time early. But Stoner would not sit atop the timesheets for too long. By midday, Colin Edwards had taken over top spot on the Tech 3 Yamaha, only to pass the baton on to Randy de Puniet in the afternoon.

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Pedrosa Out Of Sepang Test, Likely To Miss Phillip Island

Dani Pedrosa's ill fortune at Sepang continues. His fiery crash at the end of testing on Tuesday resulted in a fractured hand, and is on his way home. As expected, the Repsol Honda rider will miss the remainder of the test in Malaysia, but the situation is looking bleak, as Pedrosa is also highly likely to miss out on the Phillip Island test next week, with the next test at Sepang in the first week of February also looking doubtful.

Sepang has been cruel to Pedrosa over the years, as he injured himself badly there in a practice crash during his rookie season. The excruciating pain from the gaping hole in his leg did not prevent the tough little Spaniard from finishing on the podium, however.

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Sepang Test Day 1 - 2008 Pre-Season Off To A Tumultuous Start

Testing resumed after the long winter layoff for the official test ban, and the so eagerly-awaited first day of testing proved to be a tumultuous and drama-ridden affair. From the start, it was clear that the riders were having a tough first day back at work, with several crashes throughout the day.

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MotoGP Gets Back To Work - Testing Resumes At Sepang

The seemingly interminable drought of the MotoGP winter test ban is about to come to an end, and masses of die-hard MotoGP fans will draw a collective sigh of relief. For testing resumes at Sepang in Malaysia on Tuesday, with all of the teams slated to attend the 3 day test.

The test will also be the first chance all of the teams get to focus more closely on their 2008 machinery. All of the new bikes should be there, and the teams will be working on getting the bikes up to speed as quickly as possible.

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At Long Last: 2006 Sepang, Phillip Island and Motegi Race Reports

Pacific Triptych

Three weekends. Three races. Three winners. The story of the flyaway races seems simple, put like that. But like so many simple tales, this does the story no justice: There is so much more to tell.

Sodden Sepang

It all started at Sepang on Friday. From the start, Loris Capirossi seemed set to continue the dominance he had shown in Brno and impose his will at Malaysia, as he had done the previous year. The only person who looked capable of getting close was Dani Pedrosa. But then, during the second qualifying practice, Pedrosa suffered what looked at first a fairly innocent fall, catching his knee on the curbstones, and sliding off into the gravel. But it transpired that in catching his knee, he had badly gashed it, and broken his toe to boot. His injuries were so serious that there was some doubt that he would be able to make the race, dealing his title aspirations a severe blow.

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2006 Three In One - Sepang, Phillip Island and Motegi Preview

The Power Of Numbers

Numerologists, and others who seek deeper meaning in numbers, of which there are many inside the MotoGP paddock, will be delighted this weekend. For, after a 3 week break, MotoGP returns for 3 races in 3 weekends, traveling 9000 miles to do so, in a series of races spread around the Pacific, calling at Sepang in Malaysia, Phillip Island in Australia, and Motegi in Japan.

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