Valentino Rossi will not jeopardise his chances of claiming a seventh MotoGP title in pursuit of race victory at Sepang on Sunday.

Although he holds a commanding 38 point lead over Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo entering the Malaysian Grand Prix - the penultimate round of the championship - Rossi isn't taking anything for granted and will be content with a podium.

Even if Lorenzo wins, Rossi only needs fourth to prevent a last round showdown at Valencia, but The Doctor would prefer to celebrate his latest title success from the podium.

"Yeah for sure," replied the Italian, when asked if he will race differently because of the championship. "It is more important to think of the championship than the race. So the main target is to arrive in the first four, if Jorge wins, but if we can stay in front of him and arrive on the podium then that will be a good result.

"We have seen a lot of times this season [how quickly things can change]. I had a 50 point advantage over Jorge but made mistakes, so we need to work like we did last week at Phillip Island.

"At Phillip Island were worked well all weekend and had a good bike for the race. My main target is to arrive on Sunday with a good set-up and we have a lot of data from winter testing that can help with this.

"I like this track but Casey and Dani are also fast at Sepang and Jorge will want a good result after what happened at Phillip Island," added Rossi, second to Stoner last weekend while Lorenzo crashed out at turn one.

Meanwhile the punishing - and unpredictable - Sepang weather will also test the riders to the limit.

"Normally it rains around 5pm here and so it is ok for practice, but last year it rained before qualifying and it was very strange. Wet at the start but dry at the end," recalled Rossi. "So we have to be ready for anything, but we all hope for good weather on Sunday.

"It is the hardest race of the year for all the riders," continued the six time 2009 race winner. "The temperature is very high. Last year it was 40 degrees in the race and I remember in the last laps you start to see black and white!"

Should Rossi clinch his ninth world championship, over all three classes, on Sunday then another of his legendary celebrations can be expected - although the superstitious 30-year-old is remaining tight lipped about what might be planned.

"We have to see," he said. "Some good friends have come from Italy for the weekend and the guys from the fan club are here, yes..."


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment