GP title at Sepang race?

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Valentino Rossi can take his fifth successive world championship this weekend as the Malaysian Grand prix begins on Friday, September 23, 2005.

The Italian needs just a fourth place to clinch the season, with only Max Biaggi still holding a remote chance to denying him. Rossi has won nine races already this season and looked likely to wrap things up at the previous round in Japan before his first race crash of the year.

Keep checking the site throughout the weekends for regular GP updates.

The other rider involved in that crash, Marco Melandri, looks doubtful to start practice on Friday, arriving in Sepang in a wheelchair following surgery. He needed 35 stitches in an ankle wound after he was stabbed by the footpeg of his Honda, and now has a badly swollen ankle.

“I had bad luck with the crash. They let me fly on monday night and it was a comfortable flight. Right now the injury doesn;t hust but it will be tough on the flight. Maybe I’ll try on Saturday, but I don’t know if I’ll have the strength to control the bike. Luckily we still have a day to rest and then decide,” said Melandri.

The unfortunate Italian is still in the chase for the runner-up position in the championship. With four races following Sepang, Max Biaggi is second on 149, Colin Edwards is third on 133, Melandri is fourth on 126, Nicky Hayden fifth on 121, and Japan winner Loris Capirossi is sixth on 117. Sete Gibernau (115) and Alex Barros (114) are the last of the top eight.

The 3.4 mile Sepang circuit has favoured Michelin riders since the venue first hosted a race in 1999. Michelin riders this weekend include Max Biaggi, Sete Gibernay, Marco Melandri, Nicky Hayden, Alex Barros, and Shane Byrne.

Englishman Byrne will ride for the Camel Honda team as a replacement for the injured Troy Bayliss. ‘Shakey’ has had a torrid season on the KTM-engined Roberts machine, which ended with a dispute between the two sides, and marked the end of his season. But for Sepang and the next round at Qatar, Byrne has a Honda RC211V to prove himself with.

And he’ll be racing against our other British hopeful, James Ellison, on the WCM. Ellison missed the last race at Japan due to injury but will be looking to get a good result to move in front of team-mate Franco Battaini in the championship standings.

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff