JORGE LORENZO (1st – 310 points / Yamaha Factory Racing): “So here we are back in Sepang, a track with difficult memories for all of us from Marco’s tragic accident last year. It is also a track which has very good memories for me from 2010 when I became MotoGP World Champion. With three races left to go we must stay very focused and do our best to put on a good show this weekend. The track is maybe more suited to our bike than Motegi so we will be aiming for the best possible result”.
DANI PEDROSA (2nd – 282 points / Repsol Honda): “It’s two seasons since I raced in Sepang and I’m looking forward to it now. It’s a track where you have a little bit of everything – it’s hard to ride, it’s hot, there are fast and slow corners, hard braking, long straights,…, and everybody has references from the tests. Nevertheless, we need to wait to see on Friday what the temperature and track conditions are like to understand how the tyres will work because it’s normally very slippery. I’m really enjoying racing at the moment and I want to continue like this, pushing the maximum from our side without thinking about the others”.
CASEY STONER (3rd – 197 points / Repsol Honda): “After a disappointing race in Japan, I’m looking forward to going to Malaysia, it’s a track where I’ve had success at in the past. However, this weekend marks the anniversary of Marco’s death so I’m sure it will be a strange feeling when we all get on track. It’s going to be a hot weekend and it’s a physically demanding circuit, my ankle isn’t feeling very good after the race in Japan so I’ll be resting it as much as possible this week before going on track on Friday. The track is a little smoother and more flowing so hopefully I won’t have so many issues as I had in Japan”.
ÁLVARO BAUTISTA (5th – 144 points / San Carlo Honda Gresini): “I was delighted with the result at Motegi in Honda’s home race, on a weekend when I agreed a new deal with Gresini Racing for 2013. To be a part of the first ever all-Spanish podium in MotoGP and to move up to fifth in the championship just capped it all off. There were plenty of reasons to celebrate and I was happy to do so with the team, who has continued to believe in me during some difficult times. We have done a great job along with the guys at Showa and even though our problems are not 100% solved we are on the right lines. Now we go to Sepang in good form but with a heavy heart because of the events of last year. The track itself suits our bike and my riding style so we will work hard from the first lap to find the best possible setting for the race and then give our best as always to hang on to the guys at the front and maybe even repeat the result from Japan”.
VALENTINO ROSSI (6th – 137 points / Ducati Team): “We’ll see what awaits us at Sepang, because we didn’t do very well there during the winter tests. Still, many months have passed since then, and now with the new frame and swingarm, the bike is better. The race and the whole weekend will certainly be very difficult because of the high temperatures, which present a challenge for both the bike and the riders. That said, it’s obviously not our first time, and we know what to expect. We’ll try to do our best”.
STEFAN BRADL (8th – 125 points / LCR Honda): “I nearly missed the win at Sepang last year when the race was stopped. I like the circuit, it is fast and flowing, which suits my style. In Motegi I suffered from arm pump, which should not cause any problems at Sepang because there is less braking. We came here for the winter test so we already have some data and base set up to develop. This weekend will remind me the loss of a great champion, Marco Simoncelli, and I am sure that all the riders will aim to pay homage to their late colleague and friend”.
NICKY HAYDEN (9th – 101 points / Ducati Team): “Motegi is behind us, and hopefully Malaysia we can do a better result and have a better weekend. We need to be able to start better on Friday. We do have a few new parts to try this weekend that may help, and hopefully my wrist will be stronger now that it’s been three weeks since I hurt it. The track has less downhill braking, so it might not cause me as much pain as it did last weekend. The season is really getting close to the end, and we need to try our best to do a couple of good results before it’s over”.
BEN SPIES (10th – 88 points / Yamaha Factory Racing): “It’s a strange feeling to come back here after last year. We will honour Sic in the best way we know how, by going out on track and giving 100% as always. Last weekend was yet another disappointment with brake issues, I really hope we can have a trouble free time here in Sepang and show our true podium potential”.
HÉCTOR BARBERÁ (11th – 70 points / Pramac Racing): “I’m looking forward to going to Malaysia because we have a lot of positive data at the Sepang circuit. It is a track I know well, having spent much of the preseason testing there. I was quite fast during the winter and I hope it will be the same again this weekend, even if it remains one of the most demanding on the calendar. I will give the best I can from Friday to catch a great result”.
ALEIX ESPARGARÓ (12th – 55 points / Power Electronics Aspar Team): “Sepang is one of my favourite circuits. It is wide with long straights and you can really have a lot of fun on a big bike there. I think we can have another great weekend in Malaysia and that is what we’ll be working towards. We have been hanging on to a new engine for a while now so that we can use it here in Malaysia so I’m looking forward to putting it in and seeing how it runs. I have always raced well at Sepang in the past so I hope it’s the same this year. We had another great result at Motegi and recovered the lead in the CRT category so now we have to fight until the end to stay there”.
RANDY DE PUNIET (13th – 53 points / Power Electronics Aspar Team): “We had some set-up problems at Motegi but luckily we have a quick opportunity to fix them in Malaysia this weekend. We had been working perfectly up until Japan so we need to get back into that rhythm and make sure Motegi was a one-off. My ankles were painful when we left Japan but thankfully they are recovering quickly and I hope to be in much better shape this weekend. I like the track and I know we can get back to performing at a high level there. There are only three races left so we have to give it everything”.
MICHELE PIRRO (16th – 26 points / San Carlo Honda Gresini): “We picked up another point at Motegi, which may not be a lot but our goal was to close the gap to the top three CRTs in the championship and we did that. It wasn’t an easy race because we struggled all weekend at Motegi with a chatter problem but it was important we made it to the end. Now we go to Malaysia, where the memories of Marco will come flooding back. It won’t be easy but the thought of him helped me win the Moto2 race at Valencia last year so this Sunday I will be giving my best again to pay him tribute, which I owe to the guys on my side of the garage who worked with Marco last year. I like the track and I think it will be well suited to the characteristics of our bike. If we can solve some of the problems we have run into lately then we should be able to do well. We have some ideas on what we can change, with the objective of fighting to be the top CRT again”.
Sincerely, Eduard Ballús