In decisive season finale
Jorge Lorenzo heads into the decisive stage of the 250cc World Championship as the series leader with a seven-point advantage over Italy's Andrea Dovizioso.
The Fortuna Aprilia rider, with six victories to his name so far this season, takes
his title quest to Sepang (Malaysia), Phillip Island (Australia) and Motegi (Japan), before returning to Europe to close out the calendar at Estoril (Portugal) and Ricardo Tormo - Comunitat Valenciana (Spain).
Lorenzo has sat atop the standings for the past two races after a brilliant comeback leading up to the summer break and now looks set for a head-to-head with Dovizioso given that third-placed rider Yuki Takahashi (Honda) is some 66 points behind. Finding a good set-up for the Malaysian circuit will be key to the race where getting things right is just as important as avoiding mistakes.
"This is the decisive stage of the season and there is no room for errors. We have to play our cards right and be intelligent. The gap in the championship is small, only seven points, but it is always better to be on top than chasing the leader, as I was a couple of months ago," said Jorge Lorenzo. "We have to work hard from the first session in order to get a good set-up and then plan carefully for the race. Sepang is a long and difficult track with a twisty section and two very long straights, which means finding a compromise with the bike so that it is competitive at every point on the track. If we achieve that then we can be competitive and aim for the top.
Héctor Barberá, meanwhile, is confident of improving on his performance at the recent Czech Republic race, where he again suffered from front-end set-up problems with his Aprilia RSW250. The Spaniard is targeting another podium as he looks to build on seventh place in the overall standings.
"At Brno I wasn't at the level I World have liked and I hope to put that firmly behind me over the upcoming races," said Hector Barbera. "My plan is to take things race by race and get on the podium as many times as possible. Hopefully I can find a solution to the problems I've had with the front end, which has been making things difficult for me since the start of the season. The bike is fast but I can't control it in the corners as well as I would like. I like the circuits that are coming up but things always go better in the race if you have found a set-up quickly in practice."