Ducati preview Sepang MotoGP 2008

ImageDucati Corse preview the Sepang 2008 MotoGP round.

The intercontinental tour that sees the MotoGP World Championship visit three counties – Japan, Australia and Malaysia – in just four weeks reaches its end this weekend with the penultimate round of the 2008 season taking place before the series returns to Europe for its grand finale at Valencia.

The Ducati Marlboro Team this weekend travel to a circuit that has seen them celebrate podium finishes for the last three seasons, with Loris Capirossi and Carlos Checa combining for Ducati’s first double podium in 2005, a race the Italian won, Capirossi taking second in 2006 and Casey Stoner taking victory last season.

Stoner, who has won in all three classes at Sepang, travels to Malaysia on the back of victory in his home race at Phillip Island whilst Marco Melandri is hoping to put two difficult races behind him at a circuit where he took second place last season.

LIVIO SUPPO, MotoGP Project Director

"Sepang is a ‘friendly’ circuit for us. We went well there in winter testing and both Casey and Marco have good records at this circuit. Hopefully we can maintain that tradition!"

CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 2nd in the championship on 245 points (-87)

"Over the last few rounds we’ve managed to set a good pace in all of the dry practice sessions and struggled a little bit in the wet. We think we found a good wet setting in Australia so unless there’s an unexpected problem that crops up we should be okay for any conditions at Sepang. I like the track and I’ve got good memories because I’ve won there in every category – 125cc, 250cc (2004 and 2005) and MotoGP. The track is a good mix, there are some fast corners with a lot of lean angle and some tight ones that aren’t much fun. We’ll give our best to finish the season in a positive way, with some good results, although to be honest my mind is on the test at the end of the season at Valencia, when we can start to work on the new Desmosedici".

MARCO MELANDRI (Ducati Marlboro Team) 16th in the championship on 51 points (-281)

"The last few races have been really difficult and I’m obviously disappointed because I wanted to end the season with a run of decent results. Anyway, the only way thing to do is to consider each race as an individual event and start from zero. So I’ll try to do that in Malaysia, where I had a good race last year and finished on the podium."

Sepang hosted a Grand Prix for the first time in April 1999, with races in Malaysia having initially taken place at Shah Alam and Johor. A much loved venue for the teams and riders, the circuit is located in the thick of dense tropical forest, a short drive away from the Kuala Lumpur International airport, and has a modern infrastructure with good safety features. The track is the longest on the World Championship and one of the widest, reaching 16 metres, featuring a good mix of corners that put the machines and riders to the test. Intense heat and humidity, with the constant threat of torrential rain, increase the challenge for the riders, teams and anybody else in pit-lane!


Circuit Record: Casey Stoner (Ducati – 2007) 2’02.108 – 163.567 km/h
Best Pole: Valentino Rossi (Yamaha – 2006) 2’00.605- 165.605 km/h
Circuit Length: 5.548km
MotoGP Race 2008: 21 laps
MotoGP Timetable 2008: 14:00 CET +6

2007: 1st (Stoner)
2006: 2nd (Capirossi)
2005: 1st (Capirossi)
2004: 6th (Capirossi)
2003: 6th (Capirossi)


Age: 22 (born 16th October 1985)
Residence: Montecarlo
Bike: Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici GP8
GP appearances: 110 (49xMotoGP, 31×250, 30×125)
GP victories: 22 (15xMotoGP, 5×250, 2×125)
First GP victory: Valencia, 2003 (125)
First GP: Great Britain, 2001 (125)
Pole positions: 18 (14xMotoGP, 2×250, 2×125)
First pole position: Italy, 2003 (125)
World titles: 1 (MotoGP, 2007)

MotoGP track record at Sepang:
2007: Grid: 2nd; Race: 1st
2006: Grid: 10th; Race: 8th

Age: 26 (born 7th August 1982 in Ravenna, Italy)
Residence: Derby, UK
Bike: Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici GP8
GP appearances: 167 (91xMotoGP, 47×250, 29 x 125)
GP victories: 22 (5xMotoGP, 10×250, 7×125)
First GP victory: Holland, 1998 (125)
First GP: Czech Republic, 1997 (125)
Pole positions: 9 (6×250, 3×125)
First pole position: Germany, 1998 (125)
World titles: 1 (250, 2002)

MotoGP track record at Sepang:
2007: Grid: 3rd; Race: 2nd
2006: Grid: 9th; Race: 9th
2005: Grid: 9th; Race: 5th
2004: Grid: 10th; Race: DNF
2003: Grid: 14th; Race: 11th

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