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Another MotoGP showdown on the cards in Sepang

Marc Marquez

Bengaluru, October 31: After another shake up in Australia where Marc Marquez ruled the roost, it is time for another quick turnaround as the MotoGP caravan heads north to Malaysia and Sepang International Circuit for the final flyaway.

There is plenty still on the line too, with the team title, the fight for top Independent and the battle for the top three overall still very much at boiling point - so who will leave the Malaysia MotoGP walking the tallest?

Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) seems a good candidate. He has got a good record at Sepang and the Spaniard is on a roll of winning form, so who would bet against the reigning champion?

Repsol Honda Team eye MotoGP Team Championship

This weekend could be an even bigger one than many too, as the team title could be decided. Repsol Honda are now just one behind Ducati overall, and Marquez has been the biggest contributor. Can he make it three out of three?

Will we see the likes of the Team Championship and Top Independents get decided in Malaysia? Or will it all roll on to Valencia? Find out on Sunday (November 3) at local time 3pm (12.30pm IST).

Ducati charge

Ducati charge

The Ducati Team, however, won't go down without a fight - and especially not at Sepang. Andrea Dovizioso has a top record at the track and will be eager to bounce back from a tougher Australia. He was confirmed as second overall Down Under so that's less pressure in the rider standings, but the team spoils are important for him and team-mate Danilo Petrucci, and they've been ahead for some time.

Petrucci, after a crash at the start of the Australian GP, lost his record of being the only rider so far to have scored in every race too, and he'll want more for himself and the squad.

Quartararo in focus

Quartararo in focus

The man he collided with at Phillip Island, Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), will also want a lot more from the weekend. After his FP1 crash saw him fighting to get back near the front on race day last time out, it's time to reset and try to impress in front of the home fans - not his, but the team's. Malaysia is Petronas turf and the quickest rookie on the block will be gunning for some big glory - as will his team-mate Franco Morbidelli, as he also had a tougher race last time out.

Quartararo is also up for top Independent Team rider honours and the Petronas Yamaha SRT outfit are fighting for top Independent Team, so there's plenty to play for.

Yamaha on the move

Yamaha on the move

Phillip Island was also a tougher one for Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP. Maverick Vinales was the fastest man all weekend - Marquez also said as much - but disaster struck just a few corners from the finish line as he battled the reigning champion. How will he feel heading into Malaysia? He knows, at least, he had the speed to challenge the number 93 in Australia, even if it didn't all come together at the end, and he's not too far behind Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in the fight for third overall.

Vinales' team-mate Valentino Rossi also had a tougher latter half of the race in Australia, although 'The Doctor' led the race in the initial stages and took a solid points finish in his 400th GP. But he's not about solid points finishes, so it's a bit of a bounce back on the cards for the number 46 - at least in terms of his pace throughout the whole race.

Miller stands up

Miller stands up

Jack Miller is the man who stands to ruin the Petronas Yamaha SRT party for Quartararo in terms of the Independent Team rider standings, and the Aussie took a stunning home podium last time out as top Ducati. Can he reel in even more ground? And can Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) get back on the box?

The Briton was second Down Under to take his best finish of the season, and that at the track where he suffered his huge and potentially career-threatening crash last year. His is a longer shot at stopping the young hotshot Frenchman, but the maths say it's possible....

(By a special arrangement with Dorna Sports)

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Story first published: Thursday, October 31, 2019, 10:59 [IST]
Other articles published on Oct 31, 2019
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