Bezzecchi back ‘at my best’, Sepang one of Marini’s favourites

Marco Bezzecchi must take points off Francesco Bagnaia to keep his mathematical MotoGP title hopes alive at Sepang this weekend.
Marco Bezzecchi, MotoGP race, Thailand MotoGP, 29 October
Marco Bezzecchi, MotoGP race, Thailand MotoGP, 29 October

The VR46 rider, currently 79 points behind Bagnaia and 66 from Jorge Martin, needs to be within 73 points of the title leader after Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix to stay in the fight for Qatar.

Either way, Bezzecchi knows the title is a long shot. But with his fractured collarbone benefitting from a welcome weekend off, the Italian could well be a victory contender throughout the Sepang-Lusail-Valencia triple header that ends the season.

“Having a full week of recovery after three very busy weeks, like the previous ones, was a real treat,” said Bezzecchi, the grand prix winner in Argentina, France and India.

“I rested and recovered as much as possible, recharged my batteries and I am ready to face this final stage of the season at my best.

“Sepang, along with many other tracks in this final phase of the season, is among my favourites.

“Very fast, with long straights, an aspect that could be favourable to our technical package.

“It won't be easy, but we will give our best to be among the protagonists from here to Valencia.”

Luca Marini, Tissot Sprint race, Thailand MotoGP 28 October
Luca Marini, Tissot Sprint race, Thailand MotoGP 28 October

Bezzecchi was fourth as a rookie in last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix, when team-mate Luca Marini suffered his first non-score after almost two seasons in the premier class.

But Marini bounced back by leading the timesheets during February’s official pre-season test at Sepang, suggesting he could well be a pole contender on Saturday.

“I'm always happy to return to Sepang, one of my favourite tracks and where I achieved my first victory in the World Championship in 2018 in Moto2,” said Marini, also recovering from a fractured collarbone.

“I have always done well here, managing to adapt to the temperatures, which are often truly prohibitive.

“With the shoulder it's better, in Thailand we managed Saturday's race and the weather conditions well, while in the race we struggled more. However, the feelings are positive.

“It will be a busy three weeks, the aim is to close the season collecting as much as possible.”

While Bezzecchi looks relatively settled in third, Marini is now just six points behind Maverick Vinales and seventh in the world championship.

Although Pramac is 96 clear of VR46 in the teams’ standings, Valentino Rossi’s squad will take a 30-point advantage over Lenovo Ducati into the final three rounds.

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