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Andrea Iannone returns to action alongside Andrea Dovizioso in the Ducati Team for the Shell Malaysia GP at Sepang

The Ducati Team has arrived in Malaysia for the third event in the challenging series of three end-of-season overseas rounds, which will see the MotoGP teams notch up about 35,000 km of flight time in less than one month.

The Malaysian round of the championship sees a return to action for Andrea Iannone, who will once again line up with his usual team-mate Andrea Dovizioso after an absence that has lasted since the first session of Friday free practice at Aragòn. The rider from Vasto, who picked up a T3 vertebra fracture in the first session of free practice at the Misano round, has been forced to miss four races. Iannone arrived in Malaysia on Tuesday and, despite the fact that he admits he is still not at 100% fitness, he is ready to step onto his Desmosedici GP at Sepang, after being replaced by Hector Barbera in Japan and in Australia.

The penultimate round of the 2016 season takes place at the Sepang International Circuit, a track that most of the riders like, and which can boast a series of characteristics that make it ideal for modern-day MotoGP bikes: long straights, a wide track surface and numerous overtaking points. All the teams came to Malaysia for the IRTA test in February, but as well as the usual hot sticky weather in the tropical country over the weekend riders will also have to deal with other unknown factors such as the recent resurfacing of the whole track, with several modifications to the run-off areas and the replacement of four new kerbs.

At Sepang the Ducati Team has won three times thanks to Loris Capirossi and Casey Stoner. In MotoGP Andrea Dovizioso has stepped onto the podium in Malaysia twice, the last time in 2010, in his seven races there. Last year “Dovi” retired following a crash on lap 11 after qualifying in seventh for the race. Andrea Iannone will start the Malaysian race for just the third time in MotoGP. Last year the rider from Abruzzo started from the second row after qualifying sixth, but in the race he had a technical problem that brought about his retirement on lap 2.

With two rounds remaining until the end of the championship, Dovizioso lies seventh in the standings with 137 points, while Iannone is in ninth with 96 points.

The Sepang weekend schedule gets underway on Friday morning with the first session of free practice at 9.55 am (03.55 CET) while the 20-lap race is scheduled for Sunday at 3 pm local time (08.00 CET).

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 7th (137 points)
“We come to Malaysia very satisfied with fourth place at Phillip Island. Sepang is one of my favourite tracks and this year, with the new asphalt and the banking modified in several corners it will surely be more interesting and fascinating. As always we will have to understand how the bike and above all the tyres will behave with all these changes, but I’ve always gone well at Sepang and so I can’t wait to get out on track.”

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 9th (96 points)
“I’m very happy to finally be able to return to the track, and I hope it will be a positive weekend for us, even though I know that it won’t be easy because my back is still not quite right. In any case I decided to return to racing here at Sepang, also because it’s quite a struggle for me to sit at home and watch the races on TV and I was desperate to get back: for Ducati, for myself and for all my fans who always support me. I hope to be immediately fast and competitive, even though for sure I will have to understand my condition, my possibilities and my speed. I’m keeping my fingers crossed but we are returning to the track with the aim of obtaining some good results.”

The Sepang Circuit
The Sepang International Circuit, situated about 50 km south of Kuala Lumpur, is one of the best and most spectacular tracks in the world. It was constructed at the heart of a 2,300 acre complex which also houses a hotel, a shopping centre, a golf course and other sports facilities. It was built in just 14 months at a cost of £50m and sets the standards for racetracks worldwide. With four slow corners following two long straights and ten medium to high-speed curves, the wide track provides plenty of room for overtaking and full throttle. Intense heat and humidity provide extra problems when racing at this circuit, which is one of the longest on the calendar.

Fastest Lap: Pedrosa (Honda), 1’59.053 (167.6 km/h) – 2015
Circuit Record: Lorenzo (Yamaha), 2’00.606 (165.4 km/h) – 2014
Best Pole: Pedrosa (Honda), 1’59.053 (167.6 km/h) – 2015
Top Speed: Iannone (Ducati), 339.6 km/h – 2015
Track Length: 5.5 km
Race Distance: 20 laps (110.9 km)
Corners: 15 (5 left, 10 right)
Race Start: 15.00 (08.00 CET)

2015 Results
Podium: 1st Pedrosa (Honda), 2nd Lorenzo (Yamaha), 3rd Rossi (Yamaha)
Pole Position: Pedrosa (Honda), 1’59.053 (167.612 km/h)
Fastest Lap: Lorenzo (Yamaha), 2’00.606 (165.454 km/h)

Andrea Dovizioso
Bike: Ducati Desmosedici GP
Race Number: 04
Age: 30 (born on March 23rd 1986 in Forlimpopoli, Italy)
Residence: Forlì (Italy)
Races: 256 (158 x MotoGP, 49 x 250cc, 49 x 125cc)
First GP: 2001 Italian GP (125cc)
Wins: 10 (1 x MotoGP, 4 x 250cc, 5 x 125cc)
First Win: 2004 South African GP (125cc)
Pole Positions: 16 (3 x MotoGP, 4 x 250cc, 9 x 125cc)
First Pole: 2003 French GP (125cc)
Titles: 1 (1 x 125cc)

Andrea Iannone
Bike: Ducati Desmosedici GP
Race Number: 29
Age: 27 (born on August 9th 1989 in Vasto, Italy)
Residence: Vasto (Italy)
Races: 190 (63 x MotoGP, 51 x Moto2, 76 x 125cc)
First GP: 2005 Spanish GP (125cc)
Wins: 13 (1 x MotoGP, 8 x Moto2, 4 x 125cc)
First Win: 2008 GP of China (125cc)
Pole Positions: 10 (2 x MotoGP, 5 x Moto2, 3 x 125cc)
First Pole: 2008 GP of Malaysia (125cc)

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