About the Race
The very first Malaysian Grand Prix took place at the Shah Alam circuit in 1991 where a debut win in the premier class for John Kocinski riding a Yamaha was witnessed. The event was hosted at Shah Alam for seven more years before the Malaysian GP went to Johor for a single year in 1998.
However, in 1999 the stunning Sepang International Circuit, close to Kuala Lumpur, was opened and hosted its first GP. Designed by racetrack architect Hermann Tilke, Sepang has become a consistent fixture on the MotoGP calendar and draws crowds from across the world.
How the Bookies See it
Despite failing to finish at Phillip Island in Australia last week, World Champion Marc Marquez still enjoys a huge 86 point lead at the top of the World Standings. Andrea Dovizioso remains in the runners-up spot but just 15 points ahead of fellow Italian Valentino Rossi. Maverick Vinales took maximum points in Australia to put himself back in contention of snatching second place in the title race, as he is now just 30 points behind Dovizioso with two races to come.
Dovizioso is the bookies’ favourite to win in Malaysia and possibly claim the runners-up position for a second successive year. The Italian is a 6/4 favourite, ahead in the market of Marc Marquez at 11/4. Valentino Rossi is the joint third-favourite at 8/1, alongside Maverick Vinales and Jorge Lorenzo.
Marc Marquez wrapped up the World Championship a week in Japan a couple of weeks ago, so his failure to finish in his last outing won’t have proven too painful. You have to go back to 2014 for the last time Marquez won at Sepang, in fact it was the last time he even made the podium. It’s not been a happy hunting ground for the Spaniard in recent years – but can you ever write him off?
Andrea Dovizioso finished third in Australia to maintain his second-place in the World Standings, but that win for Vinales has put him under pressure from a new threat. However, Dovizioso has won at Sepang the last two years and clearly loves this track. He can all but secure a second successive runners-up spot in the title race with maximum points in Malaysia again.
Valentino Rossi has failed to make a podium finish for the last three races now and looks in threat of losing his third-place position in the World Standings. He has a solid record at Sepang but has not won at the circuit since 2010. It would be a surprise to see him win this time too.
That win in Australia for Maverick Vinales has put him back in with a chance of claiming this season’s runners-up spot. He will have to produce something quite spectacular to maintain that push though, having never finished close to a top-three finish in Malaysia.
Andrea Dovizioso has something to race for at a track he loves, so will be the one to beat, and at odds of 6/4, it’s not a bad bet. Marquez’s record at Sepang and short odds of 11/4 don’t make him particularly appealing.
Sports.net's Top Tip
Jorge Lorenzo has finished in the top-three at Sepang every year since 2012, so is a very good looking choice, if he returns well from injury, and is of obvious each-way interest at 8/1. Dani Pedrosa won in Malaysia in 2011 and 2015, so knows how to claim maximum points and looks another good each-way bet at 20/1 for a podium finish at least.