Sepang : Fortuna Honda - Preview
The MotoGP World Championship leaves European soil behind once again this weekend as it heads east for three races in as many weekends.
The chase for the title promises to be an exciting affair as five riders stake their claim over the
remaining five races, which will take place over the next eight weeks. The season-long battle looks certain to go all the way to the wire.
Marco Melandri, who lies fourth in the standings behind Rossi, Pedrosa and Hayden on 161 points, is one of the firm candidates for the most treasured prize in motorcycle sport.
Marco Melandri said: "Now is the time to take each race as it comes because we are in the final stage of the championship and we have to give our best all the time. I'm happy to be racing in Malaysia - a nice track but one that at the same time is also technical. It is not easy because of the amount of long corners. Sepang is always very hot, with not much grip, and it is easy to crash. The rider's conditioning is one of the keys to success and from that point of view I feel very confident. My physical preparation is designed specifically for the level of demands you are put under at this track - from supermotard riding to motocross and mountain bikes."
"We've got three very contrasting circuits coming up but I like them all and I can't wait to get on my RC211V," he added. "Last year I arrived in Sepang with 35 stitches in my foot so I wasn't in the right physical shape. Now I'm feeling confident because we have a ! good base set-up for the bike which I think can help me be consistent at each of the remaining tracks.
Tyre choice at Sepang will be another of the main keys to success."
Toni Elias, who rode his RC211V in Malaysia during the winter tests, returns there determined to show his true potential.
"The two day test in the Czech Republic was crucial to be able to better analyse the reactions of the bike," said Toni Elias. "We worked a lot on weight distribution under braking and we know we are on the right lines and that the hard work will bear fruit soon. I like Sepang because it is a technical track which has some really hard braking areas hidden amongst .We are working very hard with my team and I hope to get a good result starting from this race."