THE Sepang International Circuit is expected to host a capacity crowd for the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix this weekend, thus providing a perfect setting for the crowning of Spaniard Marc Marquez as this year’s MotoGP world champion.
Repsol Honda Team’s Marquez, the world champion in 2013, 2014 and 2016, is sitting comfortably at the top of the standings with a 33-point lead and has the first of two chances to seal his fourth MotoGP world title at Sepang this Sunday.
The final round will be held in Valencia, Spain from Nov 10-12.
It is a two-horse race for the world title between Marquez, who is on top with 269 points, and second-placed Italian Andrea Dovizioso of Ducati.
Dovizioso, a five-time winner so far this season, suffered a big setback when he could only finish 13th at the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Phillip Island last Sunday.
Marquez, who bagged his sixth win of the year in Phillip Island, said he would manage the race this weekend at Sepang with the championship in mind.
“It’s something that is inside my head but then on Sunday we will try to manage the risk.
“I don’t want to be too focused or stressed that I need to win here.
“I need to take the points here and try to be champion either here or in Valencia,” said the 24-year-old Marquez, who had won once in Sepang in 2014.
Marquez added it was very important to get a good result in Australia to open up a bit of a gap before starting at a demanding round like Sepang.
“One of the main things here is the humidity and the high temperature. I think it’s one of the more difficult races under severe physical conditions.
“One good thing is that the tarmac is good now as it was resurfaced not long ago.
“The grip is also nice. We will see how the situation goes,” said Marquez.
If Marquez finishes in the top two on Sunday, he will be crowned world champion irrespective of how Dovizioso finishes the race.
The Ducati rider, the winner here last year, must finish in the top seven to keep his hopes alive.
The action will not just be fast and furious but tricky as well, with rain expected over the weekend.
But rain or shine, the organisers are expecting nothing less than 150,000 fans to converge on Sepang this year.
The SIC had sold out all the Main Grandstand tickets two months ago in anticipation of another thrilling battle for the chequered flag.