2010 Malaysian Grand Prix – Sepang set to crown first world champion in Moto2

Published on October 4th, 2010

With three more rounds and a maximum of 75 world championship points to gain after the 2010 Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, the race in Sepang could well be the title decider and the crowning of the world first Moto2 world champion and Jorge Lorenzo’s maiden MotoGP world title.

Boosted by his win at the just-concluded Japanese Grand Prix, Elias takes an 81-point lead into Sepang while Lorenzo, who finished fourth and only for the second time this season outside the podium, has a 69-point advantage over his closest rival, Dani Pedrosa who could be skipping the Malaysian GP due to injury.

“Naturally, it makes the Malaysian GP even more special especially when we are celebrating the 20th edition this year,” says Sepang International Circuit (SIC) Chief Executive Officer Razlan Razali, who is the event director for the 2010 Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

“When the calendar was first announced last year, I think few would expect Sepang would be the title decider unlike the previous years when it was traditionally the penultimate round,” said Razlan in reference to the status of the Malaysian GP as Round 15 of an 18-leg world championship this year.

After Sepang, the world championship moves to Phillip Island in Australia next weekend before convening for Round 17 at Estroril for the Grand Prix of Portugal on October 31. The 2010 season concludes in Valencia on November 7.

Unlike contest for the Moto2 and MotoGP world crowns, the battle for the 125cc would go beyond Sepang and could even continue until the final leg in Valencia. Finishing second in Motegi, Spaniard Nico Terol, who now has 228 points, leads Japan GP winner Marc Marques by only six points. Marques, also a Spaniard, has 222 points with another rider from Spain, Pol Espargaro also in the title fight with 215 points.

In the battle for the inaugural Moto2 crown, Elias has 249 points with his Spanish compatriot and 125cc champion Julian Simon in second place with 168 points. With third placed Andrea Iannone, Elias just need to finish ahead of Simon to win his first ever world title. Simon’s best bet to take the title fight longer would be for Elias failing to finish the race with him taking the win in Sepang.

Lorenzo would effectively be crowned as the 2010 world champion if Pedrosa, who broke his collar bone after crashing in Motegi, fails to keep his Sepang date. Third placed Casey Stoner and 2007 world champion is 117 points behind Lorenzo; with only 180 points and effectively out of the title race.

Celebrating a world title in Sepang would not something new for Lorenzo, who won the 250cc crown in 2007 as he celebrated with his fans by donning a boxing robe, a pair of boxing gloves and a boxing champions belt; making boxing moves at the podium and parc femme.

In anticipation of a huge turnout, Razlan yesterday announced SIC’s late minute decision to open Hillstand B; offering 5,000 tickets at only RM10 for fans to catch the race live at the circuit on Sunday. Offered only for Race Day attendance, seats at Hillstand B provides vantage viewing of the South Track including full view of the back straight and Turns 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14, SIC Chief Executive Officer Razlan Razali said in a statement today.

To be held from October 8 to 10, SIC is expecting a turnout of more than 120,000 fans for the weekend including 60,000-plus fans for Race Day. Entry for Friday is free at the Main Grandstand. Last year, the event recorded its highest Race Day attendance in its 19-year history with 59,206 spectators.

The 20th edition of the Malaysian GP is made even special as Malaysia would have riders in two of the three classes – Muhammad Zulfahmi Khairuddin in his 14th race of the season in the 125cc and PETRONAS Yamaha Sprinta rider Mohd Zamri Baba as a wildcard entry in the Moto2.

Malaysia’s interest in the MotoGP class would be carried by the PETRONAS-backed Fiat Yamaha Racing Team, which features the 2010 champion elect Lorenzo and nine-times world champion Valentino Rossi, who would be entering his last four final races as a Yamaha rider.

Fans could also catch the best of Malaysian riders in action in the support races, which would feature the Malaysian Super Series Superbike Championship, Supersports Championship, Superstock Championship and the HI-REV Bikerz Cup.

BATTLE FOR THE 2010 CROWN

Current Point Standings

MotoGP Class

1.Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 297 pts

2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 228

3. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 180

4. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 159

5. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 156

Moto2 Class

1.Toni Elias (Moriwaki) 249 pts

2. Julian Simon (Suter) 168

3. Andrea Iannone (Speed Up) 147

4. Thomas Luthi (Moriwaki) 138

5. Simon Corsi (Motobi) 113

125cc Class

1.Nico Terol (Aprilia) 228 pts

2. Marc Marques (Derbi) 222

3. Pol Espargaro (Derbi) 215

4. Bradley Smith (Aprilia) 160

5. Sandro Cortese (Derbi) 122

words & pix: SIC

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