The first Malaysian Grand Prix was held in 1991 and has taken place every year since, with three different venues having been used; Shah Alam, Johor and Sepang.
The first Malaysian Grand Prix held at the Shah Alam circuit in 1991 saw a debut win in the premier-class for John Kocinski riding a Yamaha. Italian riders dominated the smaller classes with Luca Cadalora (Honda) winning the 250cc race and Loris Capirossi (Honda) in the 125cc class.
The Shah Alam circuit hosted the event for a total of seven years before the Malaysian GP went to Johor for a single year in 1998. The first Malaysian GP to be held at Sepang was in 1999 and this will be the 18th time that Sepang has hosted the event.
Honda have had five victories at the Sepang circuit in the MotoGP era, including for the last four years – three wins for Dani Pedrosa and one for Marc Marquez.
Yamaha have also had five MotoGP wins at Sepang, the last of which was with Valentino Rossi on-board in 2010, which was also the last time that a non-Spanish rider won in the MotoGP class at Sepang.
Ducati have taken three MotoGP victories in Sepang, the last being in 2009 with Casey Stoner. Since Stoner’s win in 2009 the best result for Ducati at Sepang is fourth in 2012 with Nicky Hayden.
The best result for Suzuki at Sepang in the MotoGP era is fifth in 2010 with Alvaro Bautista.
The most successful rider at the Sepang circuit is Valentino Rossi with six GP wins (1 x 500cc, 5 x MotoGP). The next most successful, with five wins is Dani Pedrosa (1 x 125cc, 1 x 250cc, 3 x MotoGP).
Cal Crutchlow takes second MotoGP win
Cal Crutchlow’s has again made a big impression on the record books by taking his second win of 2016 at the Australian Grand Prix.
The Australian win is the first in a dry MotoGP race by an Independent Team rider since Toni Elias won the 2006 Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril.
Crutchlow is the first British rider to take more than a single premier-class grand prix win in a season since Barry Sheene won three 500cc GP races in 1979.
He is the first Independent Team rider to win more than a single race in a season since Marc Melandri won three times in the 2006 season.
It is the first time since 2006 that a rider other than Stoner, Marquez, Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Rossi, has taken two or more MotoGP race victories in a single season.
His win gives Crutchlow a 24 point advantage over Pol Espargaro in the battle for top Independent Rider Championship and if he finishes in front of Espargaro in Sepang it will confirm Crutchlow the top Independent Team rider of 2016.
Crutchlow has scored 121 points in the last eight races after picking up just 20 points in the first eight races of the year. The only rider to score a greater number of points over the last eight races is Marc Marquez with 128.
He is the first rider to move to MotoGP from competing full-time in the World Superbike Championship to win more than one MotoGP race.
MotoGP pole positions
At the Australian Grand Prix Marc Marquez stared from pole for the 37th time in the MotoGP class; this is just one less MotoGP pole than Jorge Lorenzo and two less than Casey Stoner. Below is a list of all riders who have been on pole in the MotoGP class since it replaced the 500cc class as the premier-class of grand prix racing in 2002.
50 – Valentino Rossi
39 – Casey Stoner
38 – Jorge Lorenzo
37 – Marc Marquez
28 – Dani Pedrosa
12 – Sete Gibernau
8 – Max Biaggi, Loris Capirossi
5 – Nicky Hayden
4 – Andrea Dovizioso
3 – Makoto Tamada, Cal Crutchlow, Colin Edwards, Chris Vermeulen
2 – Andrea Iannone, Alex Barros, Carlos Checa, Marco Simoncelli, Aleix Espargaro
1 – Stefan Bradl, Ben Spies, Alvaro Bautista, John Hopkins, Kenny Roberts, Jeremy McWilliams, Daijiro Kato, Olivier Jacque.
Johann Zarco’s title winning chances at Sepang
Although Johann Zarco finished down in 12th place in Australia, he arrives at Sepang with a great chance of clinching his second Moto2 title. Zarco now leads closest challenger Tom Luthi by 22 points, with Alex Rins a further three points adrift. To win the title in Motegi he needs to have a 25 points lead in the championship on completion of the race and the following scenarios will result in Zarco taking the world championship in Malaysia.
If Zarco wins the race
If Zarco is 2nd or 3rd and in front of both Luthi and Rins
If Zarco is 4th and Luthi is 6th or worse and Rins is not on the podium
If Zarco finishes in the positions 5th to 13th then he needs to finish in front of Rins and at least three places ahead of Luthi to take the title
If Zarco finishes lower than 13th in the Malaysian Grand Prix then the title chase will go to the final race of the year in Valencia
Grand Prix racing numbers
181 – Maverick Viñales has scored a total of 181 world championship points during 2016. With two races of 2016 remaining this already the second highest score ever achieved in MotoGP era by a Suzuki rider. The only Suzuki rider to achieve a higher score than Viñales is John Hopkins in 2007 when he reached a total of 189 points.
34 – Tom Luthi’s win in Australia was the 34th time he has stood on the podium in the Moto2 class, making him the rider with the most Moto2 podium finishes.
33 – Following Cal Crutchlow’s win in Australia, Honda has a 33 point lead in the Constructors championship and can win the title in Sepang by losing no more than 8 points to closest challengers Yamaha.
31 – Cal Crutchlow celebrates his 31st birthday on the day of qualifying in Malaysia.
9 – The last Yamaha rider to win a MotoGP race was Valentino Rossi at the Grand Prix of Catalunya; a run of nine races without a Yamaha win.
6 – At the Australian Grand Prix a Cal Crutchlow on a Honda was joined on the podium by Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi and Suzuki’s Maverick Viñales. This is the sixth MotoGP podium in 2016 that has had three different manufacturers represented.
5 – Sepang is one of five circuits on the current schedule where Jorge Lorenzo has not had a win in the MotoGP class, along with: Austin, Sachsenring, Red Bull Ring and Termas de Rio Hondo.
4 – Tom Luthi has won four times in 2016 – equalling the most wins he has had in one season, that he also achieved 2005 when he became the 125cc world champion.
3 – All three riders on the MotoGP podium in Australia where riders who had appeared in the Q1 qualifying session.
2 – At the Australian GP Cal Crutchlow became the first rider to progress from Q1 to Q2 and then go on to win the race. Earlier in the season Jack Miller won having been in Q1, but on that occasion he did not progress to Q2.
0 – Neither of the Repsol Honda riders finished the race in Australia, resulting in the first non-score for the factory team since the Argentine GP last year when Marc Marquez crashed out, as did his team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama who was substituting for the injured Dani Pedrosa.
0.01 seconds – Time separating Moto2 race winner in Australia Tom Luthi, from second place finisher Franco Morbidelli. This is the closest finish in the intermediate-class of grand prix racing since the Australian 250cc GP in 2006 when Jorge Lorenzo crossed the line just 0.009 seconds ahead of Alex de Angelis.
Moto2 stats and facts
The six Moto2 races that have taken place at Sepang have been won by six different riders: 2010 – Roberto Rolfo, 2011 – Tom Luthi, 2012 – Alex de Angelis, 2013 – Tito Rabat, 2014 – Maverick Viñales and 2015 – Johann Zarco.
Prior to last year Johann Zarco had a single podium finish at Sepang – third in the 125cc race in 2011 behind Maverick Viñales and Sandro Cortese. He finished fourth two years ago in Malaysia after a great battle in the closing stages with Dominique Aegerter. Zarco passed Luthi on the final lap last year in Malaysia to take the last of his eight wins in 2015.
Alex Rins twice finished on the podium in Malaysia when racing in the Moto3 class – second in 2013 and third in 2014 after starting down in 17th place on the grid and setting a new Moto3 lap record while making his way through the field. Last year he crashed out of third place on the tenth lap when battling with Jonas Folger for third place.
Tom Luthi has won twice at Sepang, on both occasions after qualifying on pole position; the 125cc race in 2005 and the Moto2 race in 2011. Last year he again qualified on pole and led at the end of every lap before being passed on the final lap by Zarco. Luthi has won the last two Moto2 races – the first time in his career that he has achieved back-to-back GP wins.
Sam Lowes crashed out of the Moto2 race in Malaysia two years ago on the fifth lap; he re-started and continued until the end of the 14th lap when he entered the pits and retired from the race. Last year he finished the first lap in seventh place but slipped back through the race to finish 13th.
Jonas Folger has twice finished on the podium at Sepang: Third in the Moto3 race in 2012 and third in the Moto2 race last year.
Home rider Hafizh Syahrin finished third in the Moto2 race at Sepang in 2012, in only second ever start in grand prix racing.
Sandro Cortese’s third place finish in Australia was his first podium since the Japanese Grand Prix last year. Cortese won the Moto3 race at Sepang on his way to taking the 2012 Moto3 world title.
In addition to Zarco, Cortese and Luthi mentioned above, other riders currently competing in Moto2 who have grand prix wins at Sepang are: Julian Simon (125cc – 2009) and Miguel Oliveira (Moto3 – 2015).
The Sepang circuit has twice been the venue where the Moto2 world title has been decided: In 2010 in favour of Toni Elias, and two years ago when Tito Rabat took the title.
Second place finisher at Phillip Island, Franco Morbidelli, has been on podium six times in last nine race.
Moto3 stats and facts
None of the riders currently competing full-time in the Moto3 class have won a grand prix race at the Sepang circuit.
Newly crowned world champion Brad Binder set a new lap record on his way to finishing second last year in Malaysia – his best result of the 2015 season.
Jorge Navarro finished third last year in Malaysia after leading the race at the start of the final lap.
Niccolo Antonelli, who finished fourth last year in Malaysia, has not had a podium finish since winning the opening race of the year in Qatar.
The three riders in contention for the rookie of the year award in Moto3 are separated by just seven points: Nicolo Bulega, Joan Mir and Fabio di Giannantonio. None of these three riders managed to pick up any points in Australia.
Darryn Binder finished 4th at the Australian GP – the best result so far in his grand prix career. This is the first time ever that South Africa have had two riders finish in the top four in a lightweight-class grand prix race.
In addition to Darryn Binder, several other riders had their best result of 2016 at the Australian GP: Aron Canet (who finished on the podium for the first time in his rookie grand prix season), Livio Loi in 5th place, and Marcos Ramirez who scored his first grand prix points in 7th place.
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