Dani out to trim Jorge's lead
FULL FLIGHT: Honda rider Dani Pedrosa will be going alll out at Sepang on Sunday to close the title gap between him and jorge Lorenzo.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Title-hopeful Dani Pedrosa will attempt to snatch his third victory in a row from the Malaysian Motorcycle GP on Sunday as he battles Yamaha ace Jorge Lorenzo for his first MotoGP crown.
With only three rounds left in 2012, including Sepang, Honda’s Pedrosa is 28 points behind fellow Spaniard Lorenzo after an impressive win in Japan. Nevertheless, Lorenzo's lead effectively means he can be assured of the title by finishing at worst third in the last three races regardless of what Pedrosa secures.
Pedrosa has 282 points against 310 for Lorenzo.
The Motegi, Japan, win was Pedrosa's second consecutive victory after taking Aragon in September and his fifth of 2012. He was a 125cc and double 250cc World champion.
It was a very emotional return to the Sepang track, where Honda rider Marco Simoncelli was killed in a pile-up during the October 2011 race. Riders on Thursday paid homage to Simoncelli and are expected to put on a tremendous display of motorcycle racing to honour the flamboyant Italian.
Pedrosa is on a roll, though he likely needs to win every remaining race in order to stand a chance at taking the championship.
With 75-points still on offer, Lorenzo is looking strong but seems unable to hold Pedrosa's fast pace.
Razlan Razali, Sepang International Circuit CEO, told AFP he expected a tough race in possibly wet conditions. "Pedrosa will aim for a strong win to further slim Lorenzo's lead and keep his title race alive," he said.
'NO HOLDING BACK'
The long Sepang circuit is physically demanding and a wet track would make the race challenging with its long curves. Razlan said the return of Australian Casey Stoner, who won here in 2007 and 2009, would add to the excitement and help organisers attract the target 70 000 spectators.
"There will be no holding back. The riders will go all out to win. It will be a fantastic race," he said.
Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Stoner won 15 of the 18 races so far this season. Stoner, who has 197 points, missed three races this season after injuring his right ankle in qualifying at the Indianapolis GP. He returned a week earlier at Motegi and plans to retire at the end of the 2012 season.
Lorenzo missed the 2011s Malaysian GP due to injury. Simoncelli was killed in a second lap crash. The race was cancelled.
Sepang will be followed by the Australian GP on Phillip Island on October 28 and the season-ending race will be in Valencia on November 11.