MotoGP Race Preview – Sepang

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With just a few days rest in between rounds the MotoGP riders head straight to Malaysia for Round 16 of the season, following another race in Japan which kept the title fight between Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa alive.

Pedrosa's fourth win in five races at Motegi trimmed Lorenzo's Championship lead down to 28 points, but with just three rounds left and Lorenzo having finished every race this season inside the top two Pedrosa could win every remaining race but still miss out on the title. Does Lorenzo have it sewn up, or is there genuine hope for Pedrosa?

With Casey Stoner back in action and experiencing a physically demanding weekend in Japan, it will be just as tough at a humid Sepang. Fifth at Motegi was impressive enough from the Australian, battling against pain and restricted movement in his ankle, but will we see a podium challenge from the soon to be deposed World Champion?

Andrea Dovizioso remains strong as the season draws to a close and the Tech 3 rider is closing in on Stoner and third place in the Championship standings, a feat that was close to unthinkable on his satellite Yamaha at the start of the season. Will the Italian overhaul Stoner, or can the Honda man hold out?

With the second MotoGP podium of his career at Motegi, Álvaro Bautista leapt into fifth place in the standings, overtaking Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow who now sit sixth and seventh respectively.

Rossi's last MotoGP win came at Sepang in 2010, and while a repeat of that may be an extremely tall order the Italian's faithful legion of Malaysian fans will expect something from him. Can he stretch the Ducati to pull something out of the bag results-wise? And how will Nicky Hayden fare after a stellar ride in Japan with an arm injury?

Make sure you don't miss any of the MotoGP action this weekend, tell us what you think, and don't forget to check out Alex Hofmann's post-GP review on Monday!