This weekend, the eighteenth Grand Prix of the season will be held at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. It is the fifth and final race in Asia this year and the start of the final 'triple header' that brings this season to an end.
The 5.54-kilometre-long Sepang International Circuit is familiar territory for much of the MotoGP paddock. It has been on the calendar since 1999 and is also the circuit of choice for MotoGP teams to test in winter. The ten right turns and five left turns alternate between very slow and fast, combined with the two long straights and tropical heat, the Malaysian circuit is a difficult challenge for man and machine.
Barry Baltus and Zonta van den Goorbergh started the overseas trip very well with strong points finishes in India and Japan. Then only one point was scored in the three races in Indonesia, Australia and Thailand making the team highly motivated to change that this weekend at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
With temperatures well above 30°C and very high humidity in Malaysia, this weekend will be another tough challenge. Weather forecasts indicate that there will also be heavy rain showers so the team will have to be prepared for all conditions.
Barry Baltus: “It was nice to be home for a week and relax a bit but now the focus is on racing again. Malaysia is almost a new track for me because last year I was taken out in the first session which ended my weekend. We will try to make these final three rounds of the year better than the previous ones.”
Zonta van den Goorbergh: “It was nice to have another week of rest after the three consecutive race weekends. I was able to get my rest and I feel well prepared for the last three races of the year. Hopefully luck will come our way a bit more now, as it hasn't in the last three weeks. We will do our best to finish the season well with these last three races. The Sepang International Circuit is a completely new track for me as I was injured last year. It is one of the longer circuits on the calendar and it looks beautiful so I can't wait to get started."
Jarno Janssen – Fieten Olie Racing GP team manager: “With these last three races of the year, the season is slowly but surely coming to an end. We have just arrived in Kuala Lumpur and will head to Qatar next week after which we will finish the season in Valencia. We started this overseas trip very well but then also had some bad luck on our side. That is part of racing but I think the week's rest after Thailand did us good. We have now travelled to Malaysia in good spirits and we are in a better position than a year ago, when both riders were not racing due to injury. Now they are both top fit so let's see what this weekend will bring us."
The race weekend at the Sepang International Circuit begins with two practice sessions on Friday and one practice session on Saturday morning, followed by qualifying Saturday afternoon at 13:45 local time (06:45 Central European time). The 17-lap race will start Sunday afternoon at 13:15 local time (06:15 CET).