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Yamaha Factory Racing Prepare for Grand Prix of Malaysia

Yamaha Factory Racing have arrived in Malaysia this week to prepare for the final fly away race of the 2011 season at the Sepang circuit. Jorge Lorenzo will not ride at this weekend’s Grand Prix following a crash in warm up prior to the Grand Prix of Australia last week at Phillip Island. As a result Japanese test rider and All Japan Superbike competitor Katsuyuki Nakasuga will replace him for the race and subsequent 1000cc test on Monday. Lorenzo’s Championship points tally ensures he retains second place in the standings for 2011 despite not riding this weekend.

Ben Spies arrives in Malaysia recovering from his qualifying crash in Phillip Island which also ruled him out for the subsequent race. Spies has been declared fit to race this weekend with no recurring concussion issues. He will experience some discomfort after suffering ripped soft tissue around the rib area in the crash. The Texan delivered strong results on his first Malaysian Grand Prix experience last year, starting from fourth on the grid and battling to keep the position just off the podium at the flag.

“I like Sepang,” said Ben Spies. “It’s a track we visit a lot because of the off-season testing so we know it quite well. Coming into the weekend I want to be able to put in a good result, especially for Yamaha Motor Indonesia, Semakin di Depan and Petronas which are our main sponsors. Unfortunately I’m definitely still recovering from Phillip Island, but I’m going to give it 100% as we always do. It’s frustrating but it’s been a bit of a year for bad luck. We’ll do the best with what we’ve got and see what we can achieve.”

“I am sorry for Jorge’s crash and feel bad for his injury,” commented Katsuyuki Nakasuga. “I am confident he will be back in action soon. Of course it is impossible to replace the 2010 World Champion but I will do my best to get a good result for Yamaha and the fans this weekend. This does not just mean a good position but actually also good feedback to help develop the new 1000cc machine for next year. Although next year’s YZR-M1 is very different, I will try to get good ideas for next year and the future. I am a little nervous as a Yamaha Factory rider but luckily Sepang is a track I know pretty well. It’s a ‘stop and go’ style track that I like very much. I will give 110percent of my efforts to help Yamaha Factory Racing and to deserve the role of replacing of Jorge Lorenzo”.

“Our targets need to be adjusted for this round,” said Team Manager Wilco Zeelenberg. “Normally it would be the podium but that’s not necessarily realistic for Sunday. We need to see how Nakasuga-san rides, we know his best lap time is 2’02.4 seconds here which is not so bad. This will be his first Grand Prix so it will be a new experience for him. There won’t be much grip to start with after the rain here so we hope he will stay steady and remember we have four practices to go. He has all the freedom to push the bike to the limit; we want him to be comfortable to race and not to treat the weekend as just a test.”

“It’s going to be a really strange weekend. We have to see how Ben’s physical condition is,” stated Team Director Massimo Meregalli. “Until he jumps on the bike we won’t know how fit he is. On Jorge’s side we have a different rider which is a big challenge both for Nakasuga-san and for the team. Fortunately he knows the circuit and the bike which is an advantage. He has respectable lap times here from the winter test so let’s see what happens.”

Jorge Lorenzo

Age: 24
Lives: Barcelona, Spain
Bike: Yamaha
GP victories: 38 (18 x MotoGP, 17 x 250cc, 4 x 125cc)
First GP victory: Brazil, 2003 (125cc)
First GP: Jerez, Spain, 2002 (125cc)
GP starts: 161 (65 x MotoGP, 48 x 250cc, 46 x 125cc)
Pole positions: 44 (16 x MotoGP, 23 x 250cc, 3 x 125cc)
World Championships: 3 (MotoGP 2010, 250cc, 2006/7)

Ben Spies

Age: 26
Lives: Longview Texas / Lake Como Italy
Bike: Yamaha
GP victories: 1
First GP victory: Assen, Netherlands, 2011
First GP: Donington, UK, 2008 (MotoGP)
GP starts: 36
Pole positions: 1
World Championships: 1 (WSB 2009)

Grand Prix Results: Sepang 2010
1. V.Rossi Yamaha 41’03.448
2. A.Dovizioso Honda +0.224
3. J.Lorenzo Yamaha +6.035
4. Ben Spies Yamaha Tech 3 +13.676

Sepang Record Lap
C.Stoner (Ducati) 2007, 2’02.108

Sepang Best Lap
V.Rossi (Yamaha) 2009, 2’00.518

Familiar territory awaits Tech 3 Yamaha in Malaysia

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team returns to familiar territory this weekend for the penultimate round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship, with Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow ready for their third visit of the year to the fast and technical Sepang circuit in Malaysia.

After testing twice at the Sepang circuit during the pre-season schedule in February, Edwards and Crutchlow are confident they can put the set-up information collected over six punishing days to good use when precious World Championship points are at stake in Sunday’s 20-lap race.

The Sepang race is undoubtedly the most mentally and physically demanding on the 18-round calendar, with extreme conditions experienced at the 5.548km track seeing air temperatures capable of nudging 40 degrees. Add in the gruelling humidity and the race, which takes places on the second longest track of the season, is a stern test of stamina and concentration.

Edwards arrives in Malaysia full of confidence and in peak physical condition to cope with the intense heat and humidity after he raced to a fantastic fifth place in the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island on Sunday.

His third top six finish of the campaign helped the 37-year-old take a giant leap towards finishing top non-factory rider in the championship and he is currently a healthy 15-points clear of Hiroshi Aoyama.

Edwards has already bettered his 2010 points tally with two rounds remaining and although Sepang has not been a favourite venue for the American in the past, he is optimistic he can improve on his best result of eighth in 2008.

Crutchlow has also arrived in Malaysia in determined mood, the British rider keen to make amends for an unlucky crash in Phillip Island just four days ago that cost him the chance of scoring a hard earned top 10 finish.

Crutchlow fell heavily while battling for eighth position but he has been given a clean bill of health for this weekend. He is bidding to battle for another top 10 as the contest for the coveted Rookie of the Year prize intensifies. Crutchlow holds a slender one-point advantage over Karel Abraham going into round 17.

When he tested at Sepang in February, Crutchlow was still acclimatising himself with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine and understanding how to alter his riding style from World Superbikes.

Eight months later and he is armed with a lot more experience and confident he can push for the top 10 again before his impressive roo kie season concludes at the traditional season finale in Valencia next month.

Colin Edwards

“Sepang sometimes feels like a second home because we spend so much time here and I practically know every inch of the track like the back of my hand. It is a long and technical track but obviously everybody talks about the weather conditions here. There’s no doubt that the heat and humidity is really punishing and it doesn’t matter how many years I’ve been coming here, you never got used to it. All you can do is drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated and try and conserve as much as energy as possible for the race. Last weekend was a great result and if I can repeat that it would be absolutely awesome. Although I’ve done a million laps round Sepang, I’ve never come away with a decent result, so I’m looking to change that on Sunday. I’m coming to the end of my time with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team and I really want to finish on a high because it has been an amazing spell in my career.”

Cal Crutchlow

“To be honest the two tests at the beginning of the year weren’t easy at all. Sepang is not only difficult from a physical point of view with the heat and humidity but the circuit was incredibly hard to learn. It is long and very wide, so even though I’ve been here twice before on the YZR-M1, I’m expecting a tough weekend. Physically I’m fine after Phillip Island. I’ve got a few bumps and bruises but what hurt more is that I could have had an eighth place and that’s a shame because those points would have been good for the Championship. Since I was here in Sepang earlier in the year I have gained so much experience about the bike and tyres and I’m looking f orward to picking up a strong result.”

2011 MotoGP Malaysia

Sepang 20/10/2011

Circuit Length:
5548

Lap Record:
2’02.993
(Nicky Hayden, 1/1/2005)

Fastest Lap Ever:
2’00.518
(Valentino Rossi, 10/25/2009)

Last Years Winner:
Valentino Rossi