Valentino Rossi looks set to claim his seventh MotoGP World Championship during this weekend Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, the penultimate round of the 2009 season.

Rossi's second place last Sunday in Australia has put the Italian legend on course for his ninth world title, over all three grand prix classes.

The Doctor leads Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo by 38 points after the Spaniard crashed at the very first turn at Phillip Island, wrecking any realistic chance of taking the title to the final round at Valencia.

Rossi only has to leave Malaysia with a 25 point lead to claim the title and has a great record round the 3.447 Sepang circuit, where he has won five times in the premier class - including last year - and is confident of being the star guest at a world championship winning party in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday evening.

Despite a few bruises after his high speed crash at turn one, Lorenzo will be fit to ride in Sepang where he won the 250cc race in 2006 but he knows deep down his chances of taking the title have gone and is talking publically of securing second.

Australian Casey Stoner arrives in Sepang full of confidence after his win at Phillip Island for Ducati. His fitness seems to be no longer in doubt and the 24-year-old aims to finish a difficult season with a bang by winning two more races.

Stoner moved into third place in the championship in front of Dani Pedrosa after his third win of the year and won at Sepang two years to add to 125 and 250cc victories at the circuit situated close to KL International airport.

It looks like a tough task for Pedrosa to fight against the Yamahas and Stoner's Ducati on Sunday. Despite some brilliant starts, the Repsol Honda can't stay the pace and he's often left in a lonely third place. Like Stoner he's won in the 125 and 250 cc classes but still awaits that first MotoGP victory at Sepang.

Pedrosa's Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso took his first MotoGP podium at Sepang last year and returns fifth in the standings, but just seven points in front of the consistent Colin Edwards, riding for Monster Yamaha Tech 3.

Behind the American it could not be closer with three riders on equal points.

Following his fourth place in Australia, Alex de Angelis shares seventh place with fellow satellite Honda rider Randy de Puniet and Sepang MotoGP winner Loris Capirossi (Suzuki). Just one point behind them is Italian Marco Melandri (Hayate) with Toni Elias (Honda) and Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) also in the hunt.

After suffering his second jump-start penalty of the season last weekend, James Toseland has just two more MotoGP appearances to try and break his MotoGP best of sixth before returning to World Superbikes in 2010.

Meanwhile, Spaniard Aleix Espargaro looks likely to replace the injured Niccolo Canepa in the Pramac Ducati team.

Marco Simoncelli's sixth win of the year in the shortened 250cc race at Phillip Island has blown the world championship wide open.

The reigning world champion now trails Honda rider Hiroshi Aoyama by just 12 points with two rounds remaining. The championship will surely be between these two after Alvaro Bautista crashed in Australia and is now 29 points behind Aoyama with a maximum of 50 remaining.

Aspar rider Julian Simon became the first 2009 world champion by clinching the 125cc title in Australia after a last lap victory over team-mate Bradley Smith. The British teenager consolidated his chance of finishing second in the championship and leads third placed Nico Terol by 21 points.


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