MotoGP: 5 interesting facts about the Malaysian Grand Prix

A MotoGP race at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
A MotoGP race at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia

Round 18 of the 2018 MotoGP season moves to Malaysia and although the Championship was decided in Japan with Marquez claiming his 5th World Championship, the Constructors and the Team titles haven't been won yet and the race to finish second in the points standings is very much alive with 3 drivers in contention to take the 2nd position - Andrea Dovizioso, Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales.

The Yamahas endured their longest winless run in history before Maverick Vinales won the Australian Grand Prix, breaking the winless streak. Valentino Rossi, who is winless so far, will look to add a race win to his all-time record tally of race wins and so will Dani Pedrosa who will look to sign off his MotoGP career on a high.

Asian fans are extremely passionate about MotoGP and all the top riders like Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo command a mammoth fan following.

We take a look at 5 facts about the Malaysian Grand Prix:

#1 A regular fixture in the MotoGP calendar since 1991

Hermann Tilke - Sepang circuit designer
Hermann Tilke - Sepang circuit designer

The first ever Malaysian Grand Prix was held in the year 1991 and since then it has been held in every season till date. Three different venues have been used for it -- Shah Alam, Johor and Sepang.

The 2018 race is scheduled to take place at the Sepang International Circuit. Between 1991 and 1997, the race was held in Shah Alam before being moved to Johor in 1998. Since 1999, the race has been held in Sepang.

The Sepang International Circuit was designed by the legendary German circuit designer, Hermann Tilke, who also designed the race circuits in Turkey, Bahrain, China, and Valencia. The Sepang International Circuit has also been an iconic race event in the Formula One calendar where races were held every season between 1999 and 2017.

#2 Most successful Manufacturer

Andrea Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso

Since 1991, drivers belonging to only 4 Manufacturers have won the Malaysian Grand Prix. They are Honda, Yamaha, Ducati and Suzuki. Honda have won the most races across all 3 categories - MotoGP (earlier 500cc) , Moto2 and Moto3.

Honda with 30 wins across all classes is followed by Team Aprilia with 19 wins. With regard to the MotoGP premier class, 3 teams -- Yamaha, Honda and Ducati -- each has 5 wins. Andrea Dovizioso of Ducati has won the last 2 races in 2016 and 2017 and will be looking for a hat-trick of wins.

#3 Only one rider has led from start to finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix

Casey Stoner
Casey Stoner

Double world champion Casey Stoner holds the record for being the only rider to lead every single lap of a race at the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Australian achieved this feat in 2007 and then again in 2009.

In 2007, it was extra special for Stoner as he won the first of his two World Championships. Stoner is the second rider from Team Ducati to have won a race at Sepang. The first was Loris Capirossi in 2005.

#4 The Malaysian MotoGP has crowned the world champion on 4 different occasions

Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi

The Malaysian Grand Prix has over the years been held in the latter part of the MotoGP season, hence it has also been witness to the coronation of the world champion on more than one instance.

In 2003, Valentino Rossi won his 3rd premier class MotoGP World Championship at Sepang by finishing ahead of nearest rival Sete Gibernau in the points tally. He emulated this feat in Sepang twice again in 2005 and in 2009. The last instance where the title was decided in Sepang was in 2010 when Jorge Lorenzo edged out his compatriot Dani Pedrosa to win the World Championship.

#5 Most successful Rider at the Malaysian Grand Prix

Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi

Across all three classes of Motorcycle racing, Valentino Rossi leads the all-time race win tally at Malaysia with a total of 7 wins. 6 of his wins came in the Premier Class of MotoGP and 1 win came in the 125cc class. 5 of his wins at Malaysia coincided in the years that he also won the MotoGP World Championship.

5-time world champion Australian Mick Doohan won 5 races at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Unlike Rossi, whose wins came at the Sepand International Circuit, Doohan won races at the Shah Alam circuit and the Johor circuit.

Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee


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