Press releases from some of the MotoGP teams and factories ahead of this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang:
Repsol Honda Team head to Malaysia for the last stint of the tripleheader
After a brief stop in Indonesia to meet his numerous local fans at a Pull&Bear store in Jakarta, Marc Marquez headed to Malaysia to join his team at the Sepang International Circuit, which will play host to the third and final back-to-back flyaway race this Sunday.
Having been innocently involved in a racing contact at the Australian Grand Prix and forced to withdraw, Marc will be back on track to try and seal the Constructors title that is within Honda’s reach, thanks to a 39-point advantage in the standings.
With the Team Title also to defend, Dani Pedrosa is looking forward to racing at a track where he has been very successful in the past.
As was the case for the Thai GP a few weeks ago, Marc and Dani will have to deal with the region’s typical extreme tropical weather conditions, with very hot temperatures and physically demanding sessions.
At the Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix
Marc Marquez has 2 wins — 1×125 (2010), 1xMotoGP (2014) — plus 1 podium and 4 pole positions.
Dani Pedrosa has 5 wins — 1×125 (2003), 1×250 (2004), 3xMotoGP (2012, 2013, 2015) — plus an additional 5 podiums and 4 pole positions.
“We had quite an eventful race in Australia and it was a pity we couldn’t fight until the end, but that’s gone now and we look forward to the next round in Malaysia with our usual spirit and positive mentality. We still have our target of two more titles to achieve, and we also want to try and win again if we have the chance to do so. Malaysia is a demanding round from a physical point of view but that’s something we’re prepared to deal with, so we’ll keep our concentration high and try to start strong beginning on Friday morning.”
“The Malaysian Grand Prix is a demanding venue due to both the extreme weather conditions and the track itself, which isn’t an easy one, being wide and requiring precise lines and a good setup. That said, I like it very much, so I hope we can do good work and find a setting that allows me to feel good on the bike and to try to have a good weekend.”
Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix: Jorge Lorenzo returns to the Ducati Team alongside Andrea Dovizioso for the penultimate round of the season at Sepang
The two Ducati Team riders, Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo, have arrived at Sepang for the penultimate round of the 2018 MotoGP season, which concludes in Valencia on 18 November.
The Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix takes places at the Sepang International Circuit, a track that is much appreciated by the riders and which has a series of features that make it ideal for modern-day MotoGP machines: long straights, a wide track and numerous overtaking opportunities. All the teams came to Malaysia in February for the first official pre-season MotoGP test, and once again it will be the hot sticky climate of this tropical country, together with the expected heavy rains, that will be a key factor throughout the weekend.
The Ducati Team has won five times at Sepang thanks to Loris Capirossi, Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso, who triumphed in the last two editions. After being replaced in Australia by Álvaro Bautista, who scored an excellent fourth place finish at Phillip Island, Jorge Lorenzo returns to his Desmosedici GP mount, and in these last two races will try and finish his second and final season in Ducati in the best possible way. The Malaysian circuit is one of the few where the Spanish rider has never won a MotoGP race, but with the exception of a DNF in the 2008 race, Jorge has never been out of the top 4 in qualifying or the race, and he has finished runner-up three times and third at the flag on four occasions.
With two rounds remaining until the end of the championship, Dovizioso is in second place overall with 210 points, while Lorenzo is in ninth with 130 points.
The Sepang weekend programme gets underway on Friday morning with the first free practice session at 10.55 local time (03.55 CET), while the 20-lap race is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 15.00 (08.00 CET).
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) - 2nd (210 points)
“Our main aim now is to try and win in Malaysia and for sure we can be competitive at Sepang, even though things are different than last year for many reasons. The fight for second place in the championship is now becoming interesting, because Rossi is still not far behind me, even though in Australia I gained a few points on him, so we must remain focussed because this is a track where he has always gone well.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) - 9th (130 points)
“Only eight days have passed since I had an operation on the ligament of my left wrist, but I’m feeling a bit better. For sure the operation was quite recent and so we’ll have to wait until I get on the bike to see how the wrist responds and if I still have a lot of pain when I ride. On Thursday I’ll go to the circuit medical staff for a check-up on my condition and I hope to be able to race even though I won’t be at 100%. I haven’t been able to train for the past few days and the Sepang circuit is very challenging, so this is not exactly an ideal scenario to return to the track.”
MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP READY FOR MALAYSIAN ROUND
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team is on the move again. After a thrilling race at the Phillip Island Circuit - where Maverick Viñales secured a brilliant win - the crew headed directly to Malaysia for their third-consecutive fly-away race, held at the Sepang International Circuit.
Sepang (Malaysia), 31st October 2018
Following a superb victory at the Phillip Island track last Sunday, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team is fully motivated to turn up ready for combat again this weekend at the Sepang International Circuit.
This race weekend will be testing the riders' stamina even more than usual, as the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix is the last of the triple back-to-back races, and the region is known for its extreme heat. Nevertheless, Valentino Rossi is looking forward to getting back into action this weekend at the Sepang track, and for good reasons.
The Doctor has had his fair share of success in Malaysia. He delighted the fans by snatching victories in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010, securing second places in 2002, 2005, 2014, and 2016, and taking third places in 2009 and 2015. This weekend he hopes to add another top result to this impressive list in order to inch closer to second position in the championship standings, from which he's currently 15 points adrift, as he holds on to third place.
Having stepped onto the top step of the Australian rostrum last weekend, Maverick Viñales is now just 15 points behind his teammate and currently still in fourth position in the overall rankings. The recent victory leaves him even more impatient to meet his fans at the Malaysian track, which is another strong circuit for him.
The Spaniard is determined to keep his newly gained momentum going this weekend, especially as he's yet to claim a premier class MotoGP prize in Sepang. In previous years he reached the podium on two occasions, securing a win in the 125cc class in 2011 and in the Moto2 race in 2014. In 2016 he secured sixth place, his best premier class placement at this track thus far.
The Sepang International Circuit held its first Grand Prix in 1999 and has been on the MotoGP calendar ever since. The 5.5 km track has a reputation for providing very exciting racing thanks to a mixture of slow and medium to high-speed corners (five left and ten right), and its two long straights, the longest measuring 920m. The circuit is also one of the longest tracks of the MotoGP season, which has to be completed in extremely hot and humid conditions, making this weekend's GP, at the end of the triple-header, extra challenging for the riders.
The win in Australia was fantastic for the team, but we have only a little time to enjoy it, because we have to focus on the Malaysian GP this weekend. That said, Maverick‘s victory does help, as it gives the team extra motivation, so we can start the race weekend with a positive mindset. Many factors come into play at the race weekend in Sepang. It's the last GP of the triple-header, so the riders' physical condition can play a big part, especially because they're riding in hot and humid weather. After two hard-fought races, we‘re ready for the final push. For sure, both our riders would like to continue challenging at the front and finish the 2018 season in the best way possible, so that will be our objective.
MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER
Unfortunately in Australia I lost important points for the championship and I'm very disappointed about that, but I'm happy for Maverick and for Yamaha. Now we have to concentrate on the third and last race overseas at Sepang and it will be important to have a good weekend. We must continue to work hard because we have to be competitive at every race. Sepang is not one of our favourite tracks, but we will always try our hardest to get the best results possible.
MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER
After the victory in Australia, sincerely, I‘m very happy. The team has worked very hard to overcome the crisis that we were going through. I‘m feeling comfortable and I‘ve regained my confidence. But we have to think about the next race in Sepang. We are highly motivated. It’s a circuit with very different climate conditions to those we've had in Phillip Island and in Japan - it’s always really hot and that makes it a very physically demanding race. I thought we made an important step in Phillip Island and actually I felt really good on my M1. We are on the right path and if we continue like this, hopefully we can finish the season with more victories.
LAST ROUND OF THE FLY AWAYS IN MALAYSIA
Team Suzuki Press Office – October 31.
The Malaysian GP will be the penultimate round of the season, and also the last one of the long series of fly aways - part of an exciting succession of races which has so far seen Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s riders take three podiums in four races.
Andrea Iannone is fresh from his second place only a few days ago in Phillip Island and he will be taking this momentum as a further push to try and end the season in the best possible way. He feels that the competitiveness of his GSX-RR and his riding is very close to that of the best contenders, thus giving him high hopes for a positive race in Sepang, despite the hot and humid weather expected there.
Alex Rins got a result below his expectations in Australia, but he could take important lessons from his solid 5th place. His performance in Japan was good, taking third place in the race, thus his confidence with the bike is getting better and better and he now has a well deserved place among the fastest riders.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“We arrive in Sepang after a few good races: a solid podium performance in Aragon and then two more podiums in Japan and Australia with both riders. This means we are working in a positive way, and having both riders close to the top is proof that we are in good shape overall. To continue like that would be a good way to close the season, and we’re getting a real morale boost from these great results. The Sepang circuit can also be ‘kind’ to our bike despite some “difficult” points, so we will stay focused on our objective to end the season in the best way.”
“Last year’s Malaysian GP was a strange race because it was wet, but we showed good performance when the conditions were dry. We arrive after a positive weekend and good moments, I hope we can continue to be as competitive as we expect. Overall Sepang is never to be considered an easy one because it’s always very hot, so we struggle both with the physical condition and the tyre management and choice. We will need to manage everything in the best possible way. The last race in Australia of course gave us positive confidence and I also trust in the work they are doing in Japan, we have the important awareness that we are now very close to the best contenders.”
"In Malaysia I will try to do my best, as always. We will try the maximum and hope to keep the momentum we’ve had in the recent races where we’ve always been in the Top 5. It is true that after the Motegi podium I expected a bit more in Australia, but the race was like that and we have to take the positive points. Sepang is a good track for us, a track we know really well because we usually test there in the pre-season, so we will work hard again to stay in the front positions. Suzuki is working very well in those matters, we need to improve a little more but we are feeling very positive for the coming races.”
THE PENULTIMATE ROUND OF THE 2018 MOTOGP SEASON TO BE HELD AT SEPANG IN MALAYSIA
The Sepang International Circuit will host the penultimate round of the 2018 MotoGP season, the third intercontinental stop in a row after Japan and Australia. The modern Malaysian track, opened in 1999, offers extremely varied characteristics along its 5,543 metres: long straights, hairpin turns with hard braking sections and fast sweepers. The climate is particularly demanding for teams and riders, given the high temperatures, frequent rain showers and high humidity.
Aleix Espargaró is coming from a good race on Phillip Island, finishing ninth after a comeback ride with a convincing pace. The Spanish rider, who has apparently suffered no injury after taking a blow to the hand on Sunday, will continue working on an evolution of the RS-GP in Malaysia.
Getting back into the points will be extra motivation for Scott Redding who has been steadily improving his feeling over the last few races.
"In Malaysia it will be important to test the new advanced bike. Phillip Island is a particular track and we raced there in decidedly difficult conditions, so I want to put the new solutions to the test on a different circuit. My hand shouldn't give me any problems. The pain has gone down and I don't think it will condition me for the next race."
"At Sepang I'll be expecting a physically demanding race, in some ways similar to Thailand. We'll need to work on grip and tyre life. I want to take on my last to MotoGP races with peace of mind, trying to have fun and achieve the best possible result."
Zarco and Syahrin impatient to bounce back in Malaysia
Following a though Australian race day, the Monster Yamaha Tech3 duo of Johann Zarco and Hafizh Syahrin can’t wait to arrive in Malaysia for the second last round of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship.
While the fast Frenchman is fully motivated to make up for the lost points and recover ground in the fight for the independent riders’ championship, Syahrin faces a very special weekend. The MotoGP rookie will head to his country for the very first time in the premier class and aims high in front of his home crowd. The much-anticipated hot event is set to commence with the first Free Practice session at 10.55 local time (3.55 CET) this Friday.
Championship: 7th – Points: 133
“The Sepang International Circuit is a track I like and one, I can be fast on. I hope my Yamaha will give me a good feeling again. It’s going to be like in Thailand with very hot temperatures and difficult conditions to race, but I feel fit for this round, even after the crash in Australia. Therefore, I look forward to have a good race and catch as many points as possible to be the first independent rider.”
Championship: 18th – Points: 34
“I’m looking forward to arrive in Sepang after the good sensations we got in Phillip Island. Although the result was not great in the end, two thirds of the race were fantastic and I learned from the top riders in front of me, plus I was able to stay close to them. Unfortunately, we lost the front in turn four and also in the straight we were missing some power from the engine. I just can’t wait for my home race, which gives me some extra motivation. We keep working hard and believing in ourselves. For sure, we’ll try to do our best there.”
“The next round only in a few days’ time is going to be Malaysia – a very important race for the Championship, great event, great circuit, where we do a lot of testing during the winter, where we have a lot of data and where MotoGP is big like it was big in Thailand. This year it will be even bigger, especially for us, because we have the home hero, the MotoGP star in Malaysia, which is Hafizh Syahrin. He will arrive there as a rock star. There are quite a few things organized around him by the media for the marketing of the Malaysian Grand Prix, so we will be very busy there, helping everyone. The first person will for sure be Razlan Razali, who is a friend and who we owe a massive thank you for helping us during the winter to have Hafizh on board. So, it’s going to be a pretty interesting event for us. In terms of results, this has always been a circuit where we have had interesting races. Last year Johann was on the front row in the dry Qualifying and ended up third behind the two Ducati’s in the full wet race, so we’ve got good memories about that. Hafizh should be fast, we hope, although he has never rode a MotoGP bike on that circuit, but it’s his home country, which is always a very special boost. Especially after the nightmare day we experienced in Australia on Sunday, we can’t wait to be on track for FP1 just to forget about this and to be focussed on Malaysia. I hope there will be many, many fans for Monster Yamaha Tech3 with Johann and of course the local boy Hafizh. See you all there!”
Morbidelli and Lüthi ready for brutal physical challenge in scorching Sepang
The most intensive phase of the MotoGP calendar draws to its conclusion this weekend when the 5.5km Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia hosts the last installment of the traditional overseas triple-header.
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Thomas Lüthi will undergo the most demanding physical examination of the MotoGP World Championship when they encounter the unforgiving heat and humidity of the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
Air temperatures frequently peak at well over 35 degrees and track temperature can reach as high as a sizzling 50 degrees, which provides a stern test for both man and machine.
Franco Morbidelli will take to the track on Friday morning in high spirits after he rode to a MotoGP best eighth position last weekend in Australia to take a commanding 12-point lead in the race to be crowned Rookie of the Year.
This weekend’s trip to Kuala Lumpur means a return to the scene of the greatest moment of Morbidelli’s career so far. It was in Sepang one year ago that Morbidelli became the first Italian rider to lift the Moto2 crown when he finished third from pole position.
Tom Lüthi is more determined than ever to break his points duck in Sepang and he too has happy memories of the Malaysia track. His win by the slender advantage of 0.002s over Mika Kallio in the 2005 125cc race remains the sixth closest finish in the history of the lightweight World Championship.
A leg injury resulting from a heavy qualifying crash unfortunately ruled Lüthi out of last year’s race and that absence meant he lost the title to current teammate Morbidelli.
MotoGP practice starts at 1055am local time on Friday and round 18 of the World Championship will get underway at 3pm on Sunday afternoon.
Franco Morbidelli: 14th in the overall standings on 46-points
“I have great memories of Sepang when I won the Moto2 title”
“I’m looking forward to going to Sepang after such a positive race in Phillip Island. I tested at Sepang earlier this year, so we have some reference and some data to use that should help me. I wasn’t super-fast in the test, so hopefully that will change and I can improve. It will be very hot and physically demanding but I have great memories of Malaysia because it was there one year ago I won the Moto2 title. And the target will be to move closer to win the Rookie of the Year title.”
Tom Lüthi: 27th in the overall standings
“I will keep my motivation high like always”
“I tested in Sepang during the winter but that was a long time ago. I really like the Sepang track and it will be good to be back on track so quickly to try and get over the frustrating weekend in Phillip Island. I will keep my motivation high and do my best like always to be as strong as possible.”
ÁNGEL NIETO TEAM RIDERS HEAD TO SEPANG ON THE BACK OF BEST WEEKEND OF THE SEASON
Álvaro Bautista was fourth in Australia in a race that saw Karel Abraham take eleventh
The final round of the MotoGP World Championship takes place this weekend at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, with the runner-up position very much up for grabs. Fifteen points separate Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi, with Maverick Viñales another fifteen further back, as the trio chase the honour of being next best to Marc Márquez, who could afford his DNF in Australia after wrapping up the title in Japan. With Cal Crutchlow set to miss out in Malaysia through injury, Danilo Petrucci and Johann Zarco will battle for the honour of best Independent rider, with fifteen points also between them.
The Ángel Nieto Team head to Malaysia with two riders bang in form after best results of the season in Australia for both Álvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham. The Spaniard took fourth at Phillip Island, riding the factory Ducati GP18 in place of Jorge Lorenzo, and he is looking to fight at the front again at Sepang to round off a strong run of flyaway races. His teammate Karel Abraham took eleventh place at Phillip Island to double his points tally for the season. This weekend the Czech rider shifts back to his Ducati GP16, the race-winning bike at Sepang in 2016, and he is hoping it can power him to another points finish.
Álvaro Bautista: “We go to Malaysia in even higher spirits if that were possible because this trip is turning out to be really positive. We are on an upward curve, constantly improving. Sepang is one of my favourite tracks, it has a bit of everything and the objective as always will be to have some good practice sessions, work well with the bike and look for a place in Q2. We have seen that if we can start with the front guys we can run with them, so qualifying is very important. Then we can aim for a top ten, which is what we can achieve with the material we have.”
Karel Abraham: “I am going to Malaysia looking forward to racing again and fighting for more points, even though I don’t like the weather conditions there. At Sepang I won’t be riding the Ducati GP17, which I had my best result of the season on in Australia, but I will be back on my usual bike to give my best as always.”
BRADL TO MAKE THE MOST OF UNEXPECTED OPPORTUNITY
PRESS RELEASE: 01 November 2018 | Sepang GP Preview
Stefan Bradl reacquaints himself with the LCR Honda CASTROL Team this weekend as he stands in for the injured Cal Crutchlow at the Malaysia Grand Prix. The Briton suffered a fracture to his right ankle and tibia after falling at Phillip Island last time out and has been ruled out of the upcoming event at Sepang. It could not have come at a worse time for Crutchlow who had been in great form, demonstrated by his second place at Motegi two weeks ago.
But Bradl is determined to make the most of his unexpected opportunity back at the team he rode for from 2012-2014. The German insists he will feel no pressure in Malaysia and is looking forward to getting back out in the MotoGP field and doing his very best for Lucio Cecchinello’s outfit.
“I’m looking forward to getting started tomorrow and am excited to be back. It’s nice to work with the guys again, I have great memories with this team and everything is still more or less the same – the faces have just become a bit older! I hope that we can start the weekend in a good way and get some track time. There is no pressure, let’s just try our very best and see what we can do.”
NAKAGAMI WARY OF THE WEATHER IN MALAYSIA
PRESS RELEASE: 01 November 2018 | Sepang GP Preview
LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider Takaaki Nakagami is hoping to sign off from the flyaway races in style with a positive result at the Malaysia Grand Prix this weekend. The Japanese rookie managed points finishes at both his home event at Motegi and Phillip Island Island last time out. The last of the three consecutive races for the MotoGP field takes place at Sepang from Friday and Nakagami is expecting the weather to play a big part.
With warnings that heavy rain and thunderstorms are liable to hit Kuala Lumpur later in the day at this time of year, Taka is aware of the importance of the morning sessions this weekend. The 26-year-old insists he will keep one eye on qualifying throughout, in order to give himself the best chance ahead of Sunday’s showpiece.
“So after two races in a row, this weekend we’re in Malaysia and it’s very difficult to understand the weather conditions every day with the heavy rain that can come in the afternoon. So the morning sessions are very important, we need to find a good set-up and also do good lap times in the morning each session. We have to think about qualifying in every session. I’m looking forward to the weekend, hopefully there will be dry conditions but I don’t think it will be dry throughout all the sessions.”
MICHELIN MAKES MOVES TO MALAYSIA AS THE FLY-AWAYS DRAW TO A CLOSE
Michelin is back in Asia as the final leg of the three-week fly-away tour concludes with a visit to the Sepang International Circuit as MotoGP™ heads to Malaysia for the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix.
The melting pot of Malaysian culture is perfectly reflected in the layout of the 5,543m circuit, a track where extremely high-temperatures can heat the surface to highs above of 50°C, then the abrasive asphalt can quickly be soaked by heavy downpours. All of this is mixed with a technical layout over the five left and ten right corners, interlinked by two long straights, which provides such an examination on riders, bikes, and especially tyres, that Sepang has become a regular test venue and one that is synonymous with preparing a MotoGP bike and all of its components for the season ahead, during the winter tests.
Michelin does not take the familiarity of the well-known circuit for granted and it produces a tyre that must contend with the humid and hot conditions. The soft, medium and hard compound MICHELIN Power Slicks are selected to cope with these high temperatures, as well as having the consistency and durability to combat the abrasivity of the asphalt. The selection for round 18 of the championship will feature symmetric tyres for the front, whilst the rears will all be asymmetric, with a harder right-hand-side to cope with the added stresses that edge of the tyre will face at this demanding circuit.
With tropical rainstorms almost a daily feature at Sepang, the MICHELIN Power Rain tyres will most probably be called into action at some point during the weekend, as they have been during the previous two-seasons since Michelin’s return to MotoGP. This week’s allocations will see a soft and medium compound for the front and rear, with the latter featuring an asymmetric design with the harder right side.
Michelin and MotoGP will begin the penultimate weekend of Grand Prix action on Friday with two free practice sessions, followed by two more the next day. Saturday afternoon will see qualifying for the 20-lap race take place to decide grid positions. The 18th round of the season will get underway at 15.00hrs local time (07.00hrs GMT/UTC, 08.00hrs CET) on Sunday 4th November.
Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:
“This is a circuit we all know very well as we come here every year for a pre-season test and it is an ideal track to understand about the bikes and the tyres. The track surface was re-laid in 2016, so it should be properly settled now, and although we have lots of data for here it does also still require a lot of thought as it is one of the hottest venues we visit and the track temperatures can be quite extreme, it is not unusual to see it go over 50°C. The tyres are pushed to the extremes to cope with the high temperatures and have shown their full potential since we returned to MotoGP, they have also had to show their wet weather prowess, as we have had quite a few damp sessions at Malaysia since our return. This will be the final race of a five-week tour that has seen us take in Thailand, Japan and Australia so far, these are all very important venues for Michelin and MotoGP and it has been great to see the support and passion that there is in these places for the sport and we are sure it will be no different this weekend in Sepang.”
Malaysian GP: Statistics
Ducati in Sepang
- Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo finished first and second in last year's GP here; it was the first time that both riders stepped onto the podium together since becoming teammates.
- Dovizioso won the last two GPs in Malaysia, with 2016 being his first victory with Ducati. Since then he has achieved a total of 10 wins.
- The Sepang circuit is the only track where Dovizioso has won more than once since he became a MotoGP rider.
- In 2016 Andrea scored the victory, pole position and set the fastest race lap.
- Ducati has 5 wins in Sepang: two by Dovizioso, two by Stoner in 2007 and 2009, and one by Capirossi in 2005.
- 339.60 Km/h is the maximum speed clocked at Sepang by a MotoGP machine, a record achieved by the Ducati of Andrea Iannone in 2015.
- Lorenzo clinched two of his five world titles at the Malaysian circuit. In 2007, he mathematically won his second 250cc title, and in 2010 his first MotoGP crown.
- Although Lorenzo has always been fast in Sepang, he has only had one victory there, in 2006 as a 250cc rider. In MotoGP he hasn’t yet won, though he has been on the podium in the last 7 races, collecting a total of 10 podiums.
- Ducati have twice scored a double podium in Sepang: Last year's pairing plus in 2005 when Capirossi won and Checa finished third.
- This will be the 20th Malaysian GP held in Sepang, which in 1999 hosted a World Championship event for the first time.
- Sepang was the first track designed by Hermann Tilke, an architect who has created most of the circuits of the last 20 years. Of all his creations, Sepang is still considered the favorite of nearly all the riders.
- With a length of 5543 meters, it is the second longest circuit in the entire Championship, behind Silverstone. It is technical and very fast at the same time, with two united long straights and a front straight that measures 920 meters.
- Sepang follows Montmeló and Motegi as the most demanding layout for braking. The brakes are used for 37 seconds per lap, about 30% of the race.
- The braking for turn 1 is the strongest of the whole layout, where speeds go from 331 km/h to 67 km/h. This requires a braking distance of 289 meters over 6 seconds.
- Turn 6 is the slowest of the entire circuit, where the speed of the bikes goes down to 60 km/h.
- In six corners the speed drops lower than 85 km/h, which contrasts with the two straights where speeds reach over 300 km/h, plus two other straights where speeds go up to 250 km/h, creating quite a varied layout.
- 3 of the last 6 GPs held in Sepang have been in rainy conditions that have affected the race: in 2012, 2016 and 2017.
- In 2012, the race was stopped due to the large amount of water on the track, and despite the fact that two-thirds of the race was not yet completed, it was considered finished.