2012 title leader Jorge Lorenzo wasn't present at last year's tragic Malaysian Grand Prix, but knows there will be 'difficult memories' for MotoGP this weekend.
The Spaniard was absent due to hand injuries for the 2011 Sepang round, where Marco Simoncelli lost his life after an accident on lap two of the race.
Lorenzo, one of a number of riders to tangle on and off-track with Simoncelli last year, later paid his respects in person by attending the Italian's funeral, where he was greeted warmly by Simoncelli's father.
Like Simoncelli, Lorenzo wrapped up a world championship title at Sepang and the Factory Yamaha star returns holding a 28-point lead over Honda's Dani Pedrosa in the 2012 standings.
“So here we are back in Sepang, a track with difficult memories for all of us from Marco's tragic accident last year,” said Lorenzo. “It is also a track which has very good memories for me from 2010 when I became MotoGP world champion.
“With three races left to go we must stay very focused and do our best to put on a good show this weekend. The track is maybe more suited to our bike than Motegi so we will be aiming for the best possible result.”
Lorenzo has finished first or second in every race this year, barring his Assen DNF. However Pedrosa has won four of the last five rounds - the win streak split by a Misano DNF - including last Sunday at Motegi, Japan.
“With just three races to go Jorge is now very close to securing the World Championship title, however we cannot afford to relax and each one will be crucial,” said Yamaha team director Massimo Meregalli.
“We are not here aiming for second places, so if a win is possible that is the result we are trying for.”
Like all the teams, Yamaha knows Sepang well from the two winter tests sessions.